Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Update Month 2, Driving To Net Zero

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

Solar PV panels on a portion of our homes roof.

  • Month 2, -118 kWh in utility usage, -$162.57 in utility cost.
  • Stats, Stats, Graphs, Graphs. 
  • Solar PV as a transportation fuel.

A sunny two months has put us below the line,
Julie proves she is the more efficient driver.

Our BMW i3's drove 1667 miles using 381 kWh from the wall, 
and 22 kWh from 2 public charging events

GHG reductions for the month for our BMW i3's

Total utility electric use for our home and two i3's

Our BMW i3's used 381 kWh, our home and guest house used 854 kWh.
In the 3-4 summer months, we cool a 450 sq. ft subterranean
wine cellar so the electricity use is higher than normal for those months.

You can live well, and live Net Zero Energy. The cellar 
is cooled primarily by the stable earth temperature of 64 degrees

Our "True Up" bill after six months. You can see the change
 in energy use when we began our Driving To Net Zero challenge
 with the more efficient BMW i3's in May. 

We began our 12 month documented Driving to Net Zero journey on May 15th, 2014 and we're off to a really great first few months. The BMW i3's are proving to be super to drive and very efficient cars.  We each have approximately 2000 miles on the odometers now and we have had zero issues with our i3's to date.

It is possible to live in a house and drive two cars powered by sunshine.  Soon in the next few years, energy storage will become affordable. A household like ours will be able to make and store some or all of our generated energy, both in the cars and in the home energy storage system, further lessening the load on the grid.

July Focus: Sunshine As A Transportation Fuel.

Sunshine is our greatest, most equitable and endless natural resource. Solar PV systems are now blossoming everywhere it seems, like flowers on a sunny spring day. In all fifty states, homeowners, corporations and civic institutions are discovering that harvesting sunshine makes great economic and environmental sense.

I am excited about Solar PV lowering the sting of utility bills. However, the greatest value of Solar PV is when it is used as a transportation fuel which now presents a viable option to help us solve our most vexing national issues caused by our addiction to oil.

What are those issues? National security and defense costs, measured in both blood and dollars. Major cities like San Diego and Los Angeles having unhealthy air quality, with 60% of total emissions coming from the oil we burn in refineries and in our cars and trucks. Our national and family budgets siphoned off by the ever-increasing price of gasoline, as we slowly, voluntarily, export our wealth from our wallets and purses to foreign countries, some that are openly hostile to us.

The inertia of the status quo (oil) is a powerful foe of change. Its strength and certainty comes from the knowledge of today and yesteryear.

Today there are 200,000 plug in cars on the road, approximately 25% of these plug in drivers are making their own fuel for their own car on the rooftops of their own home.  That scares the heck out of the profiteers of the status quo.

They’re doing so at a cost that is 15% of the cost of driving on gasoline and fixed in cost forever as sunshine has never raised its price.  They are showing us the road to the solution of our most vexing national problem, getting off oil.

We think of our ChargePoint CT4000 Charging Station as a "Gas Station" of the future that fills our BMW i3's with sunshine electrons from our roof.  Just as gas stations have had a foundational relationship with oil companies the past 100 years,  I believe that in the next 100 years, Charging Station owners will have a foundational relationship with Solar PV.

It's a large segment of plug in drivers that already drive on Solar PV,  as the prices of Solar PV and EV's continues to fall, more and more will choose to drive on sunshine.

In California, our energy picture contains an ever increasing percentage of rooftop solar, utility solar, wind, geothermal and hydro. The future is looking brighter and cleaner than ever.

You can drive and live on sunshine at very low cost.

This is our actual cost of gasoline and Solar PV in San Diego
as of 7/01/14.  You can further reduce your cost by
approximately 25% with a TOU rate coupled with Solar PV.

Next Month:  Vehicle Charging Stations: past, present and future and a "surprise" from France that will certainly increase our energy usage. 

Thanks as always for reading and commenting.


(Past "Driving To Net Zero" articles)

Energy Challenge Introductory Article
Mid Month Article: The Energy Grid
Update Month 1
Mid Month Article: Does your Gas Station Pay you to fill'er up?

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 Field Trial drivers for BMW for five years. Together since 2009, they have driven 100,000 EV miles powered from roof top solar.

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