How To Save Money & Power Your Commute on Sunshine
It’s no secret that electric vehicles (EVs) come with some cool perks. They’re fun to drive and save you boatloads of money on fuel. And when your pair your EV with a home solar system, you can literally drive on sunshine. Because who wouldn’t want to go green and save their own green in the process?
Financial Benefits of Solar + EV
When you have an electric vehicle, you can to switch to an EV time-of-use (TOU) rate structure through your electric utility. In time-of-use rate structures, the price of electricity varies depending on what time you use it. In this type of rate structure, electricity costs more when demand is highest. Which means you’ll likely be charged the most for your power when you need it the most because that’s when everyone else needs it the most, too.
So as power demand increases during the day, so does price. TOU means you’re no longer charged simply based on how much electricity you use, but how much and when you use it.
While this doesn’t necessarily sound like a good thing, there are instances where TOU rates are actually beneficial.
One such instance is if you own an electric vehicle.
The gray lines in the graphs above show average energy consumption for regular households versus households that own an electric vehicle. The rate structure of EV time-of-use is set up to encourage EV owners to charge their cars between midnight and 5 am, when demand on the grid is the lowest.
There are large financial benefits that come with pairing solar and electric vehicles.
Above is an example of SDG&E’s current EV TOU rates. As you can see, rates are highest from noon – 6 pm. That may seem like a really high cost per kilowatt hour, but you have to remember, that’s when your solar system is producing the most power. So you can sell the excess power your solar system produces during the middle of the day back to the energy grid for $0.49. Then, when you need your power later in the day to charge your EV, you’ll only pay $0.19. So for every 1 kWh of power your solar system produces, you could receive 2 kWh back depending on when you use your electricity.
Here’s How You Save
Your solar system will produce the majority of its power during the middle of the day when most people aren’t at home because they’re at work or school. But the electricity your system creates won’t go to waste. The excess power your solar system generates is sent back to the energy grid to be used by someone else. You receive a credit for all of the energy you send to the grid. So under EV TOU, you’re credited $0.49 per kilowatt hour for the power your system sends to the grid from noon – 6 pm (when solar produces the most electricity because it’s the sunniest time of day). When you need power at night to charge your EV, you’re only charged $0.19 per kilowatt hour. So you’re receivng twice the amount of power back from the grid versus how much power your solar system actually produced – what a deal!
You've probably heard some of the myths associated with owning an EV. Click here for the truth.