Solar power paying for and powering a Chevy Volt

Few people are getting rich selling solar energy back to the grid, but one homeowner has made enough to pay for his Chevy Volt.

2012 Chevrolet Volt
2012 Chevrolet Volt GM

Few people are getting rich selling solar energy back to the grid, but one homeowner has made enough to pay for his Chevy Volt.

Retired nephrologist Bob Stonerock says that he used the $5,600 he's made over the last two years selling solar electricity to the Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) for the down payment on his red 2012 Chevy Volt.

The Chevrolet Volt is an extended-range electric vehicle that can operate for the first 40 miles on electricity alone before switching on its gas-powered engine. The plug-in hybrid retails for $41,000 and leases for $350 per month. Stonerock's Volt cost him $46,000.

That sounds impressive, but before you map out a solar array for the roof to justify splurging on a new car, keep in mind that Stonerock's scenario is unique, and the economics probably won't be the same for the typical homeowner.

Years ago the Orlando, Fla., resident installed a 20.8 KW photovoltaic system that includes a 33-foot-by-33-foot "tower of power" made of solar panels. The elaborate setup cost $170,000 to install. Most homeowners opt for the more modest 4 KW system.

But Stonerock's solar installation more than adequately powers his home's monthly average electricity usage of 2,400 kilowatt hours, and also powers the Volt for free. The rest he sells back to the OUC, and at the end of the year the utility company cuts him a check for his earnings.

While the exercise highlights Stonerock's commitment to low-carbon living, it also shines a light on the long break even (in this case, decades and decades long) for green technology first movers.

Source: Orlando Sentinel

 

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