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  • Solar and EV's - Great Investment!

    I want to know how many people here have EV's and if it makes financial sense in their area. If you are in California and don't have solar with an EV, you are missing out in some areas. I bought a Chevy Bolt two years ago and I got so addicted to EV's I traded in my Ford Explorer and got a CPO 2013 Tesla Model S. My electric company has a great EV plan and I am trying to get all my friends to buy at least a used EV to get enrolled in the PGE EV plan. Typically you get grandfathered into this plans in California, and economically it makes so much sense when EV's will be increasing in sales in the future.

    I think the only way an EV makes sense is if you have a TOU(time of use) plan and solar with net metering. I bought my Bolt on March 20 in 2017 and ironically my install date was March 20, 2018 for my solar. I have 10 months of data to back up my investment so far.
    In 10 months I have produced 16,520 kWh of electricity and used 21,348 kWh. With the PG&E EV plan I owe $318, including the $10 per month to be hooked up to the grid, for those extra 4828 kWh I used. That is under $0.07 per extra kWh I have used. For 12 months I estimate my usage will about 25,600 kWh and my true-up will be under $400. In the future it will be closer to $200 because my system was clipping about 3 hours a day on average. I can get credits during the summer at $0.48 kWh feeding the grid and charging my car at night for $0.13 per kWh. Thank you PGE!

    My solar investment was $22,000 for my 11.25 kW system after tax credit. Using 25,000 kWh is about $5000 a year with average California prices. However, with tiered pricing, you would pay much more than this without a special EV plan. This will be right around a 4 year payback for my system.

    Before solar and EV's I was spending $4500 in electricity per year for a 3100 sqft house and over $4000 in gasoline driving 40,000 miles a year. This same usage now will cost somewhere around $250 per year after my $22,000 investment.

  • #2
    I am one of those that you refer to. My first EV was a 75 Volkswagen that I converted to electric in 2010. I was living in a small Southern California Beach town at the time and the VW was a perfect car for short errands. The city of Hermosa Beach allows free parking for EVs and there are at least 20 free charging stations around town. I had also installed solar a few years earlier. I got the EV grin when I realized that bug could out accelerate almost anything 0 to 60. (That would be 60 feet.LOL)
    The EV grin is contagious and soon I sold my Toyota gas hog SUV and bought a RAV4 EV in 2012 and a Model X in 2016.

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    • #3
      I just wish the EV lifestyle would take hold in Florida. I see some Tesla's, Leafs and one Bolt along with a smattering of hybrids but full EV's are few and far between the rest of the traffic down here.

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      • #4
        Not sure an answer to your question relating to forum membership and EV ownership either in absolute #'s or % of membersip who also own EV's is possible.

        I'd SWAG maybe 10% +/- some, but stress that's a SWAG.

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        • #5
          Converted a junkyard little Toyota to a 106Vdc EV about 10 years ago. It now sits as advertising for the business. Got a Chevy BoltEV (with a "B") last year and definitely have the "EV grin" now. I call it my solar powered rocket car. Its not even that expensive after the tax credit, but the real benefit is virtually no maintenance, and of course with charging of the home solar, virtually no operating costs either. Don't know why Chevy doesn't promote this car - except their dealers are going to loose a lot of service work, they haven't ramped up production of the batteries yet, they don't make much money on them and the public's gearhead mindset is going to take time to change. Electric drive is just plain better technology and as soon as the fast charging network gets built out country wide, there will be little reason for most people to combust gas. Within a year almost all the auto makers will offer at least one EV and then the "charge" is on.....
          BSEE, R11, NABCEP, Chevy BoltEV, >2000kW installed

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          • #6
            Originally posted by solarix View Post
            Converted a junkyard little Toyota to a 106Vdc EV about 10 years ago. It now sits as advertising for the business. Got a Chevy BoltEV (with a "B") last year and definitely have the "EV grin" now. I call it my solar powered rocket car. Its not even that expensive after the tax credit, but the real benefit is virtually no maintenance, and of course with charging of the home solar, virtually no operating costs either. Don't know why Chevy doesn't promote this car - except their dealers are going to loose a lot of service work, they haven't ramped up production of the batteries yet, they don't make much money on them and the public's gearhead mindset is going to take time to change. Electric drive is just plain better technology and as soon as the fast charging network gets built out country wide, there will be little reason for most people to combust gas. Within a year almost all the auto makers will offer at least one EV and then the "charge" is on.....
            IMO, a good point about possible reason(s) for subdued promotion of EV's by traditional vehicle mfgs. and possible/likely loss of service revenue.

            Also, depending on favorable (?) POCO rate plans (usually some form of T.O.U.) home charging can be cost effective vs. the price of fuel and avoided maint., but not an automatic thing. Super low, super off peak rates like the PG & E EV rate plan seem necessary. Not all POCOs or their plans qualify, and some look good for some users, with the same plan not so good for other users based on usage patterns.

            Example (only): Under current available tariffs, tiered rates (rate DR) work better for me now (non EV owner) than the T.O.U. rate for those with PV systems (DR-SES) would be even with added usage at super off peak times if I had an EV. If I get an EV, the DR-SES rate is ~ a wash vs. the current tiered rate I'm on. There is also a T.O.U. rate plan with a super off peak rate that's much lower than the super off peak of DR-SES, but that rate also come with a higher monthly surcharge. Even with the higher monthly surcharge, that rate plan MIGHT make sense for me, but I'd need to drive a lot more/yr. to make that plan more cost effective than the simple tiered rate I'm currently on.

            To the OP's posted comments: You gotta' be informed about rate plans and what they can do as well as not do. Bottom line: Every user is in a different bucket and blinding making or taking blanket statements as gospel about what can happen as a result of changing plans can lead to unexpected outcomes. Spending an hour or two getting informed about rate option plans and their consequences seems cheap insurance to me.

            All that aside, and not that it's a necessary consideration (being what seems to be mostly or usually an emotional decision), I'd wonder about the cost justification/considerations of spending money on a new vehicle to replace one that may be still quite serviceable simply for the sake of the thrill/cache' of an EV.

            I'd also wonder about actual acquisition costs of an EV vs. comparable ICE version of any vehicle for the sake of fuel savings, and also what happens when/after fed. and/or state tax credits go away as they do and will.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by solarix View Post
              Got a Chevy BoltEV (with a "B") last year and definitely have the "EV grin" now. I call it my solar powered rocket car. Its not even that expensive after the tax credit, but the real benefit is virtually no maintenance, and of course with charging of the home solar, virtually no operating costs either.
              In my area you can get a Bolt for about $20,000 until March 31st when the $7500 credit goes to 50%. You can get the car for about $32,000 after negotiation with $7500 federal credit, $2500 California Rebate, $500 PGE rebate, and $3000 Valley Air Pollution District. I am so sick of saying I have a Bolt like Bob and not a Volt like Victor.

              After you buy an EV, driving an ICE vehicle is not even an option. I bought my Bolt early 2017 and was hooked even with the tiny uncomfortable seats. I bought a $35,000 used 2013 Tesla Model S last year with 70,000 miles on it. $35,000 for a used car is insane, but I just couldn't deal with my Ford Explorer and the used Model S was the only car available under $40,000 that had enough space for longer trips and my home depot runs. I can't believe I spent $35,000 on a 5 year old car, but I would do it all over again. The Model S is a sporty looking sedan that has just as much storage room as a SUV. 20,000 miles on my Ford Explorer cost me $3500 in gas and 20,000 miles on my Model S will cost about $800 in electricity.

              However, in my parts of the US, EV's are not worth it economically. California has great incentives and is a CARB state, which makes car companies sell EV's at a loss to consumers. Net metering is also very important to owning an EV. Most of my charging is done at night when I get home from work. For me to 100% take care of my energy needs I would need a 16 kW system, 3 powerwalls, and I would have to rotate the use of my two EV's. Net metering allows me to have a 11 kW system, charge both cars at night to full if I want, and pay under $300 a year to use the grid as my battery. It would be silly economically to not take advantage of that.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post
                To the OP's posted comments: You gotta' be informed about rate plans and what they can do as well as not do. Bottom line: Every user is in a different bucket and blinding making or taking blanket statements as gospel about what can happen as a result of changing plans can lead to unexpected outcomes. Spending an hour or two getting informed about rate option plans and their consequences seems cheap insurance to me.
                I also had to train my family about the rate plans and we have schedules now. During the summer during peak time with the PG&E EV plan from 2 PM to 9 PM, electricity costs $0.49 per kWh. Let me say that again, $0.49 per kWh! I do crazy things like get my house to 65 degrees before 2 PM and let my house get to 78 degrees before I start my air conditioner. My air conditioner draws almost 7 kW, so this would be crazy in my area where it gets to 110 degrees. We also try to do all laundry, dishwashing, etc... at off peak times. It takes a bit of planning, but getting a $0.49 cent credit from net metering is well worth it!

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                • #9
                  I think they missed an opportunity to call it the "ChevEV". In some languages, A "B" and a "V" are basically the same thing and I always have to emphasize the "B" (BoltEV, with a B) when talking about the car. Otherwise, I love the car, the seats are just fine with my backside, and my main problem in charging is making an effort to be home some during peak hours to use up my excess on-peak generation. Had to sell the 3.6kW level 2 charger to get a 7kW level 2 charger to help with this. Even though I have net metering, the POCO treats my service as two bills, an on-peak and an off-peak. I can't use my substantial on-peak noon to 7pm credit against my off-peak usage. I pay 10.9 cents/kwh plus taxes and fees for off-peak charging. At about 3miles/kWh, and about 50% charging off-peak, that is less than 2 cents/mile.
                  Being in the solar business, I love taking customers for their first ride in an all-electric car. The car pays for itself in solar sales....
                  Last edited by solarix; 02-24-2019, 05:59 PM.
                  BSEE, R11, NABCEP, Chevy BoltEV, >2000kW installed

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by discodanman45 View Post

                    I also had to train my family about the rate plans and we have schedules now. During the summer during peak time with the PG&E EV plan from 2 PM to 9 PM, electricity costs $0.49 per kWh. Let me say that again, $0.49 per kWh! I do crazy things like get my house to 65 degrees before 2 PM and let my house get to 78 degrees before I start my air conditioner. My air conditioner draws almost 7 kW, so this would be crazy in my area where it gets to 110 degrees. We also try to do all laundry, dishwashing, etc... at off peak times. It takes a bit of planning, but getting a $0.49 cent credit from net metering is well worth it!
                    Doesn't sound crazy to me. I could tell tales about what I did to avoid using the furnace back in Buffalo. Small example: Added thermal mass to increase the thermal time constant of the dwelling. Same thing can be done to offset A/C /cooling load operation times.

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                    • #11
                      Right or wrong, I over built my 2014 solar install. I was getting about $0.035/kWh for excess power the system sent back to the grid after each 12-month billing period. I got the grin last March with the purchase of a Tesla Model 3. After 9 months into my 12-month billing period (May to April) I owe SoCal Edison $144 as I have used more electrons from the grid than I have produced. It has rained more this winter than any other winter since my solar was installed (I guess that is a good thing). The cloudy sky has reduced my solar generation (that is a bad thing). I am hopeful over the next 3 months I will generate excess power and reduce the true-up cost due in May. I am on the standard tiered rate of 18 cents for the first 288 kWh and 23 cents for the second tier. I have had several months in the second tier at 23 cents. I need to figure out what rate plan is best for me, but as long as I have excess solar power it seems the tiered rate is reasonable. Clearly not an accurate cost accounting, but in simple terms I have driven the Tesla 10k miles for $144 plus the $56 I would be paid for my excess power at 3.5 cents/kWh. Again, in very simple numbers, $144 + $56 = $60 which is 2 cents per mile. At $3/gallon in SoCal you would have to get 150 MPG to match that cost on gasoline. I'll be interested to see what the final numbers are in May. I will have a years worth of info and can figure what the best rate plan is for me.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Ward L View Post
                        Right or wrong, I over built my 2014 solar install. I was getting about $0.035/kWh for excess power the system sent back to the grid after each 12-month billing period. I got the grin last March with the purchase of a Tesla Model 3. After 9 months into my 12-month billing period (May to April) I owe SoCal Edison $144 as I have used more electrons from the grid than I have produced. It has rained more this winter than any other winter since my solar was installed (I guess that is a good thing). The cloudy sky has reduced my solar generation (that is a bad thing). I am hopeful over the next 3 months I will generate excess power and reduce the true-up cost due in May. I am on the standard tiered rate of 18 cents for the first 288 kWh and 23 cents for the second tier. I have had several months in the second tier at 23 cents. I need to figure out what rate plan is best for me, but as long as I have excess solar power it seems the tiered rate is reasonable. Clearly not an accurate cost accounting, but in simple terms I have driven the Tesla 10k miles for $144 plus the $56 I would be paid for my excess power at 3.5 cents/kWh. Again, in very simple numbers, $144 + $56 = $60 which is 2 cents per mile. At $3/gallon in SoCal you would have to get 150 MPG to match that cost on gasoline. I'll be interested to see what the final numbers are in May. I will have a years worth of info and can figure what the best rate plan is for me.
                        The TOU is much better for solar for you, especially charging a vehicle at $0.12 per kWh at night. They do have a EV plan, put that plan is silly. You need a dedicated meter for the EV charger and it is actually a penny more expensive at night to charge the car... I would switch right now!!! They are closing enrollment for the current TOU plans on March 1st!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by solarix View Post
                          ............. At about 3miles/kWh, and about 50% charging off-peak, that is less than 2 cents/mile.
                          .........
                          Yep, hard to beat those numbers with an ICE car. It does take a system approach to find the optimum combination of EV, rate plan from the POCO and PV Wattage.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Ward L View Post
                            Right or wrong, I over built my 2014 solar install............ I am on the standard tiered rate of 18 cents for the first 288 kWh and 23 cents for the second tier. I have had several months in the second tier at 23 cents. I need to figure out what rate plan is best for me, but as long as I have excess solar power it seems the tiered rate is reasonable. Clearly not an accurate cost accounting, but in simple terms I have driven the Tesla 10k miles for $144 plus the $56 I would be paid for my excess power at 3.5 cents/kWh. Again, in very simple numbers, $144 + $56 = $60 which is 2 cents per mile. At $3/gallon in SoCal you would have to get 150 MPG to match that cost on gasoline. I'll be interested to see what the final numbers are in May. I will have a years worth of info and can figure what the best rate plan is for me.
                            I agree with discodanman45, that a TOU rate plan could be more cost effective. Unfortunately SCE had and may still have a glitch in the Green Button data download when you have solar. Something about a negative integer screwing up their data. Therefore you will have to make assumptions about your useage to model the TOU rate options.I don't trust the rate analyzer anyway and probably for the same data reason that is not available for NEM customers either for SCE customers the last time I checked. Your mileage may vary.
                            Last edited by Ampster; 02-25-2019, 03:35 PM.

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                            • #15
                              When I run the SCE model it says I will save $1/month by switching to a TOU contract over my current tiered rate. I ran the cases in Excel and decided as long as I have excess solar power I am best to stay on a tiered rate plan. Last year I had an excess of power and was paid $0.035/kWh. This year I am charging my EV with that excess power. Depending on the weather and sunshine, I expect to end up the 12-month billing period as perfectly balanced. I paid the monthly minimum all year and charged my EV with very cheap electrons incremental. How would a TOU contract save me any money? It seems I have more to lose with the TOU plan. For example, IF my electricity demand exceeds my solar generation, I could be paying as much as 46 cents on the peak TOU plan to charge my EV. I'll have to dig out my old spreadsheet I made to figure this out and update it. I'm pretty sure the Green Data download handled the export power correctly. I do appreciate your inquiring minds as this is difficult to figure out. If SCE can't do it right, how is Joe Solar Homeowner supposed to know what to do?

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