Saturday, June 28, 2014

Update Month One, Driving To Net Zero

The idea is a simple one, harvest endless sunshine from a small portion of the roof to provide 100% of the energy needed to power a home and two cars with zero utility cost, and zero gasoline cost.

  • First Month, -24 kwh in net usage, -$149.20 in utility cost
  • Fast, fun and fibrously fantastic, our BMW i3's.
  • ChargePoint  supports "Driving to Net Zero"




The credit is earned because we push energy at peak rates of $0.44 
and pull energy at off peak and super off peak rates of $0.20 and $0.16

The current account balance is less than the remaining credits.
6/15/14 bill was a $149.20 credit added to the previous $28.82

8.5kw Solar PV System (7.5kw installed in 2007)
Paid off with energy and gasoline savings in April, 2012

We began our 12 month documented Driving to Net Zero journey on May 15th, 2014 and we're off to a really great start as you can see in our stats for the first month from May 15th to June 15th.

We are living in a historic time of great technological advancement where:


(1) Solar PV has become affordable.

(2) Electric cars are affordable with plenty of choices.
(3) Our homes, appliances, computers and gadgets are all more efficient, connected and smart.

(4) You can choose to make your own transportation fuel on your roof, replacing gasoline.

Add these four ingredients, stir well, and you change the world of energy and transportation forever.  "A better future is made with a better recipe, not just more cooking."

The first item to tackle in "Driving to Net Zero" is efficiency. It is far cheaper to save kilowatts than it is to make them. Energy efficiency in the home is a very well known prerequisite for savings.  Just like the LED light bulb that is 1/7th the energy use of an incandescent light bulb, we now have cars that use 1/5th the energy of a typical new car to travel the same distance.  


Our two BMW i3’s use 1/5 the energy of a typical car and they’re fun, fast and fibrously fantastic. The BMW i3 has a US leading EPA rating of 124 MPGe.  The i3's are crazy quick off the line, nimble, toss-able, stuff-able and simply amazing to drive, stitched together in a heretofore impossible combination of performance, luxury, safety and efficiency. 

In "Driving to Net Zero" an efficient home and the most efficient cars are required ingredients. The "most efficient" can also mean the most enjoyable, the most livable and the most premium to drive, as efficiency in our lives is additive, not punitive.

The second item on the loading order for " Driving to Net Zero" is computational power, communications, and smart data. If we can measure it, we can improve it.

We know the terms smart grid and smart house.  In the past few years our utilities have swapped out our "dumb meters" and installed "smart meters" as a precursor to the future.  A future where our smart appliances will communicate with the energy grid under our direction and optimize the times when they operate saving the homeowner money. For electric cars, the vast majority of home charging stations are still "dumb chargers" in a smart house.  

Why is this energy information important? Can you imagine not being able to see your bank account or credit card data? How would you know how to budget and spend/save your money? Energy is no different. When we can see our energy data, we can manage our energy, we can make informed decisions and we can save money.  


An electric car driven typical miles in a year can use 50% of the electricity of a typical house.  A household like ours, with two electric cars can use more electricity for the cars, than for the house. With that high of electricity use for the cars ( still about 1/5 the energy cost of gasoline)  it's very important to be able to see your overall usage and time of use with a data connected smart charging station.

We are thrilled that ChargePoint, the largest EV charging network with over 18,000 charging locations has chosen to partner with us in monitoring our "Driving to Net Zero" energy challenge.



ChargePoint is lending us a CT4000 dual head wall mounted charging station for 12 months. The newest tech from ChargePoint has two ports so we can charge our BMW i3's simultaneously. With ChargePoint’s data and analytics we can also track the exact energy usage and length that we’re plugged and measure things like greenhouse gases avoided. ChargePoint measures all those figures across their network as well – so far after 5 million sessions drivers have saved 4.5 million gallons of gas.



So we're off! We look forward to updating you each month on our energy progress and overall driving experience on our journey "Driving to Net Zero.  During this past month after announcing our "Driving to Net Zero" journey and challenge,  we have heard from dozens of homeowners and EV drivers who are on the same path, eliminating their utility and gasoline bills, and discovering the beautiful combination of affordable solar PV and electric cars.  

Our goal is to promote this way of living and way of driving as a "better recipe" for our planet as compared to  burning fossil fuels in our power-plants and in the less efficient gasoline engines of cars. Thanks for reading and commenting.  

We expect even better results next month.

Cheers
Peder


For previous post click here. 

Editor’s Note, Peder is the Chairman of the San Diego County Planning Commission. His wife Julie is Director of Curriculum and Instruction at the Solana Beach School District. They have been Felid Trial drivers for BMW for five years. Together since 2009, they have driven 95,000 EV miles powered from roof top solar.


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