Solar + Electric Vehicles: Angela & Erik

Angela and Eric’s transition to a solar-powered lifestyle began when they moved from Rochester to a farmstead in Oronoco.

“We were interested in the early generation electric cars back when we started hearing about them, and we felt compelled to get one when we moved out of town given how many extra road miles we’re driving,” Erik said. “It’s twenty miles per day. We immediately felt the impact of commuting, having not been in a car for 8 years.”

In their case, buying the electric car and installing solar were two separate decisions.

“At the time we got our electric car, I don’t think we were considering having our own solar farm, though we had always been interested in it. We were signed up for the community solar program, but with the incentives and rebates and a friend of ours putting solar on their garage roof in town, we took the plunge.”

“Solar Connection suggested a ground-mount because of the shade, and it actually worked out better because it let us delay getting a new roof on the barn. There weren’t any major obstacles. It was all straightforward.”

Eric added, “We aimed for a 100% offset for both the house and the car, and Solar Connection was almost bang on.”

Angela and Eric’s electric consumption determined how many solar panels they needed, and their consumption was heavily influenced by their choice of electric car.

Purchasing an electric car and a solar installation in a short time frame can be an intimidating financially. Fortunately, because consumer-owned solar power is so much cheaper than the utility’s electricity, let alone gasoline, the combination actually accelerates the payoff.

“I am very cognizant that not everyone can do the upfront cost of solar panels, but I would stress how much money you save in the long run and how relatively quickly it pays itself off,” Angela explained. “It’s an investment, and I don’t think 8 years is a bad return on the investment.”