03.08.2014 - by Kirk Brown
Power Couples: Driving at the Speed of Light

You may have noticed that we have a new sponsor in our friends over at SolarCity. They are a leading solar provider, delivering renewable electricity directly to homeowners, businesses and more – for less than was formerly spent on utility bills.

They are now promoting a great pairing that Plug In America’s founders helped pioneer: EV/PV. That is, driving electric vehicles with photovoltaic power. Driving on the sun! We love their approach they are inviting people to become “power couples.”

How many people actually take the time to compare the money they are spending on gasoline with the amount they are paying for electricity? How do those costs compare to putting PV on your roof and an EV in your garage? Many of our members and supporters already do this how is it working for you? I have one anecdote from a recent conversation where a long-time supporter is powering her house AND her plug-in hybrid for $40 a month because she has PV on her roof.

SolarCity has created a five-year energy cost calculator to see how much you could save by driving on sunshine. It’s a great follow up to Tom Saxton’s blog post on what it actually costs to drive an EV compared to typical gasoline vehicles (spoiler alert: the PEV is often better).

We borrowed some images from a recent SolarCity blog post on this topic below. As we know, there are lots of power couples out there, and from all parts of the country.

Name: Morgan Page
Location: Los Angeles, CA
EV Model: Tesla Model S

Page, a Grammy-nominated DJ who spins for live crowds of thousands, has a 4.3 kilowatt SolarCity solar array on the roof of his home, where he also has a recording studio. So, not only is he driving his Tesla Model S on sunshine, he’s also “making music from the sun,” as he likes to say.




Name: Jeff and Barbara Baker
Location: New River, Arizona
EV Model: Nissan Leaf

“By going solar, not only are we reducing our carbon footprint, we are saving a lot of money on our monthly electric bills! Knowing that our car is emission free feels right as we help spare the environment and our Sonoran Desert. Pairing this all-electric car with our solar production just made sense for our family.”




Name: Jerry & Sherry Tyliczka
Location: Lawrenceville, New Jersey
EV Model: Chevy Volt

“Going solar has been the best decision we’ve ever made. Lower to zero electric bills puts a smile on our faces nearly every month. About a year ago we purchased a Chevy Volt. This, along with additional energy-saving investments such as LED light bulbs, has made our family as energy independent as you can get. We’ve burned very few gallons of gasoline in our Volt.”


Name: Steve Factor
Location: Los Angeles, California (and a Project Manager at SolarCity)
EV Model: Ford Ranger Electric

“I have a 2.85-kilowatt solar array on my garage roof. It offsets about 90 percent of my electricity. I added a solar module and charge controller to my truck to generate electricity that feeds its auxiliary battery once I stopped buying gasoline it seemed obvious to generate my own transportation fuel, since it was already being delivered to my roof every day.”




Know any power couples near you?

2 comments on “Power Couples: Driving at the Speed of Light”
  1. Sherry Boschert says:

    We’ve been driving electric since 2002, when we also bought a 4.8-kW solar PV system for the roof of our 1,200-square-foot home in the foggy part of San Francisco. The savings from not buying gasoline helped recoup the cost of buying solar in a few years instead of decades. The power we get from the sun has been free ever since. Sweet!

    1. M Lucas says:

      This is where I feel Fuel Cell vehicles fail, you can’t make your own fuel at home like you can with an EV. All FC cars are is the continuation of the tyranny of enslaving the driving population to pay for fuel. EV’s scare the hell out of the oil companies because the fuel for an EV becomes democratized. An EV owner can choose to create their own fuel by using wind, solar or any means the owner has at their disposal or they can simply buy it from the local provider.

      I drive an I-MiEV and hoping to go solar soon, I’ve been waiting a year now for installation! In Ontario, Canada our power authority is paying for the electricity for 20 years. The first 10 are used to pay back the cost and the second ten is to enjoy a check every month. It’s a great deal, now if I can only get my installer out at my house everything would be nifty in my EV world.

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