All posts by Eric Lin

Solar Panels and EVs – a Money Saving Combination

Solar-Savings 2016I had solar panels installed on my house early last year. My solar panels generated 73% of my power usage and saved me over $1000. We’re now about halfway through this year and so far I’m 84% solar. Last week I had a few more panels installed, which should bring me close to generating 100% of my power usage. The price of the solar panels should break even with the amount I save in electricity in about 7 years. 

Solar-Savings 2017-07Another benefit of this is my Tesla now runs primarily on free solar power. I don’t have to worry about gas prices anymore. Even if I didn’t have solar panels, the electricity to power my car costs a fraction of what it costs to fill up a gas tank. It would cost me less than $10 in electricity from FPL to fill up my ‘tank.’ To put another way, the cost of a single fill-up on a 20-gallon gas tank right now would pay for a month of driving on my electric car.

The Sierra Club is working to get cities around the world pledge to switch city operations to 100% renewable energy by 2035. It’s called the Ready for 100 pledge and there is a petition to get the City of Melbourne to join in. As part of the pledge, a board would be formed to formulate a plan for how to achieve the 100% goal. This would likely include a mix of installing solar panels and switching to electric vehicles. Switching to renewables would save the city money and save taxpayers money. It just makes financial sense.

There’s also a related petition to the mayors of all Brevard County cities. Cities contribute about 70% of all energy-related emissions. By getting cities to pledge to convert city operations to 100% renewable energy by 2035 and all city activities by 2050, that would make a big dent in lowering emissions that pollute our air & water.

West Melbourne Heritage Day 2016


West Melbourne welcomed us to join in the fall festival celebration honoring our veterans and Thanksgiving. They graciously set aside a large area for our electric cars. Today we were able to show off many cars including Tesla Model S, Nissan Leaf, and Chevy Volt. The stars of the show were, again, the BMW i8 and the Tesla Model X.

img_20161112_124357The BMW i8 has a distinctive look that’s hard to miss. Later in the day many people were amazed by Tesla Model X parking itself with no driver inside.

Most people were surprised at how practical electric cars are. Those that were aware of electric cars were still surprised at how affordable they can be. On the one side, the Nissan Leaf with 84 miles of range can now be purchased for under $10k pre-owned. On the other end, the luxurious high-performance Tesla Model X and BMW i8. And in the middle, the Chevy Volt and pre-owned  Model S offering a balance between price and performance.

Check out the full photo gallery from the event.