Solar Power and Electric Vehicle Updates
These data will be updated from time to time, as the mood strikes.
The Clarkes Take Delivery of New Nissan Leaf
February 1, 2012 – It's taken a while, but the final piece of our conversion to electric power is complete. Today we took delivery of our new, 100% electric Nissan Leaf.
The car complements the 10.58 kW DC solar power-generation array that we installed in our backyard last June. As a result, our trips to the school, the library, sports fields, etc., will be completely gasoline- and emissions-free.
We're expecting to drive it on average about 30 miles a day, or 210 miles a week. A full 21 kWh charge should get us 70-80 miles of driving and takes 6-8 hours, so it's ideal for these local excursions.
It's a zippy car, with great acceleration, regenerative breaking and lots of electronic bells and whistles. The spoiler even has a solar panel that recharges the auxiliary battery that powers the onboard accessories and devices such as our phones. With our smart phones, we can manage charging, climate control, and check available mileage, all remotely.
Our eldest son came up with the license plate: SOLRCAR. Amazingly, it was available.
Solar Farm Powers Clarke Household in Central New Jersey
June 27, 2011 – It’s been a little more than a year since the Clarke family decided that a solar farm in their back yard was a good idea. Now that idea is a reality after their 10.58 kilowatt DC solar array was placed in service on June 22.
“I suppose it’s third time lucky,” said homeowner Ian Clarke. “We applied to the state three times, with three different contractors, but once we got the approval, construction was quick and smooth. We’re excited to be generating our own power at last. It's just a shame that solar contractors don't seem to be the most reliable or competent when it comes to paperwork or following up on requests.”
The ground-mounted array of 46 230-watt photovoltaic solar panels will produce about 13,500 kWh AC of electricity annually; any power not consumed in-house is delivered into the distribution grid. It’s big, measuring 80 feet in length, by about 12 feet high and 10 feet deep, but in the acre yard its footprint is comparatively small.
“At least it’s producing something of value; all that lawn just seems to cost me money,” said Clarke. The solar installation will power not only the house, but also a 100% electric Nissan Leaf that the family will be purchasing by next Spring.
“Most of my trips are within 10 miles: to the school, the library, playing fields and the like,” said Jamie Clarke. “It makes sense when the fuel is essentially free and emissions-free.” The Leaf is estimated to get about 70-75 miles on a 21 kWh charge, which takes 6-8 eight hours on a 240V home charging circuit.