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CEC is committed to creating a more resilient and just region in the face of climate change. Through our work with the Central Coast Climate Justice Network and elsewhere, our vision includes an end to racial injustices and their resulting environmental inequities.
The Kellys Are Driving On Sunshine Thanks To Solarize Santa Ynez Valley

The Kellys Are Driving on Sunshine Thanks to Solarize Santa Ynez Valley

Rick Kelly and his family are self-described “energy hawks,” always looking for ways to improve the energy efficiency of their home. After switching all their lighting to LED bulbs, Rick -- a business manager at UCSB -- was looking for more. Intrigued by solar electricity, he attended a homeowner workshop about Solarize Santa Ynez hosted by CEC and the Santa Ynez Valley Alliance. At the workshop, another homeowner brought up the topic of combining home solar and electric vehicles (EVs), and it spurred Rick to do his own research.
Entering The Driving On Sunshine Galaxy

Entering the Driving on Sunshine Galaxy

When Tal first learned about ‘driving on sunshine,’ or powering an electric vehicle with solar energy produced by panels on your home, it seemed like a science fiction fantasy come to life.
A Conservative Embraces Driving On Sunshine

A Conservative Embraces Driving on Sunshine

Aaron is not your typical “go green” kind of guy. He thinks that the country’s solar industry has been too heavily subsidized. And don’t get him started on climate change. None of that, however, stopped Aaron from installing solar panels on his home or purchasing a plug-in hybrid vehicle. Come again?
Driving On Sunshine

Driving on Sunshine

WHY DRIVING ON SUNSHINE MATTERS Electric vehicles (EVs) and solar are a match made in heaven. An estimated 39% of California EV drivers have rooftop solar on their homes, which allows…

Mikki J. Is Driving An Electric Car For $116/month

Mikki J. is driving an electric car for $116/month

I consider myself an energy-conscious and open-minded person, but I have been admittedly stubborn about cars. As a faithful Volvo owner for over 20 years, I hadn't really considered driving an electric car.

A few months ago, my son Michael said to me, "Mom! You really should consider getting an electric vehicle. Since most of your driving is your commute to work and you bike and walk so much, it'd fit into your lifestyle well. Besides, you rarely go out of town." My response was, "No thank you, I'm waiting for Volvo to introduce a plug-in hybrid or all electric car."

However, Michael (also CEC's Transportation Manager) invited me to test drive a few hybrids and the Nissan LEAF pure electric car. WOW! I could not believe how much I enjoyed driving the LEAF. Much to my surprise, it handled easily, was very responsive and was quite swift, smooth and snappy. At the time, the $35,000+ purchase price or $350 lease option was over my budget. I set a goal to eventually own a LEAF in 5 to 7 years. I planned to sell my trusty Volvo, buy an affordable Prius C in the interim, and hoped LEAF prices would drop enough for me to own one.

Less than 2 weeks ago, my plans changed. I took advantage of an offer from Santa Barbara Nissan to lease a pure electric LEAF for $199/month with $1,999 down (Editor's note: We're not sure how long this particular offer will last. Contact the local dealer for current promotions and check online). This low price is likely due to the fact that LEAF sales have been slow this year, and Nissan is looking to clear out its inventory to make room for the 2013 LEAFs.

In addition, I qualify for a $2,500 California rebate. This rebate (minus the down payment) means that I will be driving for free for the first 3.5 months. After that, my lease will cost $216 (after taxes) per month. I also calculated that I would be saving around $100 per month in gasoline. (I previously spent around $150 per month on gas, but expect my electric bill to increase by about $50 per month). For a total of $116 per month, leasing the LEAF was a no-brainer. Now, I am so proud and thrilled to be driving electric!

Since I rarely drive more than 25 miles in a day, I'm using a regular 120 volt outlet in my garage for charging (as many LEAF owners do). Later, if I find I need to charge up faster, I could always add a 240 volt charger. My garage already has a 240 volt outlet from an old electric dryer, and I could purchase a charging station for $900 at Home Depot.

I take very few road trips, and when I do they are either to LA or the Bay Area. Nissan is now offering the LEAF lease with 10 free rental days with a gasoline car, for those occasional trips. I also could join friends in their car on a road trip, or switch cars with my son when I want to go out of town.

I'm simply thrilled to be off oil! It certainly happened much sooner than the 5 to 7 years I had originally projected. I will not miss driving all around town, fretfully checking and comparing gas prices. Imagine what a totally gratifying experience it is now, as I drive by gas stations with a huge smile!

I'm considering solar panels next, so look for me soon, as I will be driving on sunshine.

Dan E. Drives On Sunshine Instead Of Oil

Dan E. drives on sunshine instead of oil

Tucked away on a peaceful cul-de-sac that backs up to Elings Park, Dan Emmett's home wouldn't be thought of as an environmental statement at first glance. The solar paneled roof – barely visible except from the upper lawn in the back yard – might even go unnoticed. But Dan and others like him are starting a quiet revolution, built around the idea that solar electricity can power their homes, hot tubs, and even cars.

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