Thursday, July 27, 2006

Solar Electric Power is Cheap & A Vision of the Solar Home and Car

1. Flody's Ride
From Randy Udall (Via Michael Vickerman of Renew Wisconsin)

"Interesting numbers about Floyd Landis amazing ride through the Alps.

He rode 125 miles at 23 miles an hour, much of it alone. His total output during 5.3
hours of riding: about 1.5 kwh.

Average daily household electricity consumption in the US: about 30.
Daily per capita energy consumption in the US, expressed in kwh: 270."

2. kWh Cost of that Ride
I pay my utility 13 cents per kWh of power - so Floyd's effort was worth about 20 cents. If my solar electric system lasts 20 years, my solar electric cost of power is 33 cents/kWh. That makes Floyd's effort worth 50 cents of PV power.

Still really really cheap

3. Plug in Prius and Solar Electric
At the Hybrid Car fest, in Madison, I learned that one kWh of power will propel a Prius about five miles.

So on a sunny day my little 1.25 kW solar electric system makes enough power to drive a Prius about 30 miles. That is much more than my average daily commute.

4. Solar Powered Homes and Cars
I envision a future where home Solar Electric Systems will
1. power home electricity needs
2. power a heat pump for home heating and cooling (low temperature air sourced perhaps)
3. charge up the plug in hybrid

Solar thermal would provide most of the hot water needs (and perhaps some space heating).

For an efficient moderately sized home, and car, I am thinking it would require six to twelve kW of PV per home. If costs get down to $4,000 per kW.. we are talking $24,00 to 48,000. Or 10% to 20% of the cost of the average home here in Madison WI.

So, I see a growing market for Solar Electric Systems.

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