Let Solar Panels Power Your Car

If you drive an electric vehicle, you may also be interested in solar panels.

1-3 cent per mile is not much to pay for fuelling your electric car, compared to the price of gas. This is all it typically costs to plug-in and recharge.

But everybody's feeling the credit crunch these days and looking for ways to cut down on living costs.

Wouldn't it be great to refuel for free?

If you have some money to invest in installing renewable energy in your home, it will pay off handsomely by cutting all your energy bills, including your car-costs. You could be driving for free! Compared to $4-$5.00 per gallon and €1.00-130 per litre in Europe, that's a pretty good saving!

And, of course, you'd be doing your bit as a responsible eco-citizen of beautiful planet earth, by not using up precious fossil fuels and causing global warming! Again, it's win win!

Don't ya love bein' green! :)

Installing solar or wind technology in your home is a front-loaded expense, but it pays for itself in time. You may be eligible for state subsidies, or tax incentives, which you can write off against the cost. Depending on various factors, these technologies can pay for themselves in 5-10 years. Then your energy is free, apart from low maintenance costs.

To work out your own cost equation, you need to calculate the following:

  • how much green technology will cost to install
  • how much of a subsidy/tax write-off you can claim

  • how much energy your new system will generate

  • how much you will save in home-fuel costs

  • how much you will save in car-fuel costs

Then you do a little math and will most likely end up saying...

Wow, why didn't we do this before now? We'd have saved so much!

In the long-term, the sum usually works out as a much better investment than many financial products. And you don't have to worry about the Gordon Geckos down in Wall Street gambling away your money....before they bring down the bank!

The money you invest in renewable energy today, is money you will collect in energy-savings in the future.

Another bonus is the feeling of self-sufficiency you have---having your own power supply appeals to the pioneer spirit of many people and can be very practical when there are utility outages!

If you think you may not be living in your current home long enough to reap the benefits, installing renewable energy technology will not be money wasted. Like most home improvements, it could well add more than its cost to the value of your house. A house with green technology can give you a selling advantage over other similar houses and fetch you a better price in the real estate market. To get accurate information for your own area, have a chat with a local realtor and get their opinion.

First Conserve!

The first investment you should make in greening your home, is in improving its current energy-efficiency, as it is now. This increases its ability to conserve any energy you will generate from renewable sources when you install the equipment. We could all run our homes on a lot less fuel than we do.

If you need less energy, you need to generate less energy from your renewable supply. This makes it a much more viable option. The money you will save in energy efficiency and conservation will quickly offset the costs. This investment is even more cost-effective than renewable technology. Energy conservation is the form of investment that has the greatest pay-off. The great thing is, it doesn't cost a lot. And the savings are immediate!

So, you should always invest in efficiency and conservation measures before installing any fancy green technology! Even if you never install renewable energy equipment, you will be saving on your normal fuel costs---so it is always money well spent.

How to Conserve Energy

Before you install solar panels, or wind turbines, you should insulate your home really well and look for ways to cut down your energy use.

If you are building a new home, you could consider building a passive-energy home. This is one designed to use and conserve all the free energy that can be obtained from natural sunlight. This is done by building to very high insulation standards and by the proper placing of windows.

Even if you are not building from scratch, you can go a long way towards making your home into a passive energy building by insulating it and installing triple glazing doors and windows.

You can also conserve a lot of energy by using mini-fluorescent light-bulbs and cutting down on wastage by switching off lights not in use. You can also save energy by turning down your heating, just one degree, and by turning off radiators that are in rooms not in use.

If you do all of the above, your energy requirements could be very low indeed and could easily be met by adding solar, or wind power. I have been in some luxurious homes like this, where the owners have also installed renewable wood-pellet heating systems to supplement their solar panels. Apart from buying the pellets, which are very economical, they are completely self-sufficient. Others have solar water-heating panels as well as solar panels which generate electricity. Between the two systems, they need almost no other energy source.

In short, the less you waste and the less you need, the less you need to generate from renewables. And the more money you save. Any money invested now will pay you back, year after year, in lower fuel bills and peace of mind.

Solar Energy

The sun is the source of life on earth and the prime energy source that generates all the others. In fact, our solar system creates 15,000 times more energy than our planet needs at the moment....and this is all going to waste because we are not harnessing it.

Solar energy can easily be converted into electricity that can power your home and car. This does not have to come from direct sunlight, but from daylight, so even when the sun isn't shining, it will generate electricity.

solar panels

To tap into the sun's free supply, you need to install Photo Voltaic panels (PVs). These are usually-roof mounted, but they can be put elsewhere, if there is a more effective siting for them on your land. You can even buy special roof tiles that are made of photo voltaic material, so that you don't have to have large solar panels, if you don't like the look of them.

When these solar panels and tiles are exposed to light, it triggers a reaction which creates an electrical current. This is connected to your electrical system so that you can plug into this current though the electrical outlets in your home.

In order to have a steadier, more regular supply, you should get solar panels with batteries installed. The batteries store the electricity the light creates for you, to use when you wish. They can work without batteries, but this is not practical for most people.

You can also connect your solar panels to the main electrical grid so that any excess energy they store can be fed into the common supply and make you some money, as well as helping the environment. Win, win!

Wind and Water Renewable Energy

Another possible source of renewable energy is wind-turbine energy. Turbines are not considered very effective for home use because they need to be about 30 feet higher than surrounding buildings to work properly. Mounting a turbine a few feet high on your roof will not generate the power you need.

But if you live on windswept, hilly terrain, without surrounding buildings, a wind turbine could supply you with a source of electrical power that could at least supplement your solar panels.

A third option for renewable energy is micro-hydro power. Hydro-power is generated by the movement of water and this can be converted into electricity.

You need to have a stream, or river running though your land with a fall in the level of the water (like a mini-waterfall). You install turbines in the water which are connected to your electrical system.

This option is not available to most people, but if you are lucky enough to have a river, or stream running through your land, it can be a very effective power supply.

I know of a group of people whose houses are built along the banks of a river. They got together to create a group electricity supply, which harnesses the energy of the water and it is working extremely well.

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They're clean!They're green!
They're the wonderful electric car machines!