Below are questions and answers that were posed in our Solarize Santa Barbara and Solarize Ventura County webinars on Home Solar, Electric Vehicles, and Battery Systems: Affordable Options for Your Lifestyle. CEC staff and webinar panelists have endeavored to answer these questions to the best of our ability and have provided additional resources for you to dig deeper into topics discussed. If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact April Price, Renewable Energy Program Senior Manager at CEC. Did you miss either webinar? Watch the Solarize Santa Barbara webinar here and the Solarize Ventura County webinar here.
Are used EVs reliable? Are they affordable to fix? Are older EVs efficient?
Older EVs are very efficient and get over 100 mpg equivalent. They typically have very few maintenance costs. EV drivers are usually most concerned about the battery. Many have battery warranties so it would be important to make sure the battery still has many years of warranty on it.
Are ground-mount solar systems available if we don’t want to impact our metal roof?
Yes, ground-mount solar systems are common – and all of CEC’s Solarize Santa Barbara installers have experience working with them.
On average, how much does your electricity bill increase from charging your EV overnight?
What you pay to charge your EV overnight will depend on how many miles you drive per month. For example, CEC’s Director of Energy and Climate Programs Michael Chiacos pays $40 to charge his Tesla to drive 1,400 miles.
What are the environmental trade-offs of transitioning from a car with decent gas mileage to an EV?
90% of environmental impact is from driving a gasoline powered car – the other 10% is from manufacturing it. Depending on the battery size, an EV pays off the manufacturing burden within six months to two years. If you sell your car, the person who purchases it will likely be replacing an older car with worse gas mileage. By transitioning to an EV, you’ll help to reduce your environmental impact – and theirs.
Are EV incentives available for both new and used vehicles?
Visit ElectricDrive805.org for information on available incentives. Used vehicles are only eligible for a $1,000 Southern California Edison rebate or a $5,000 Clean Vehicle Assistance Program low/moderate income grant. New vehicles get all the other incentives, typically around $10,500 for a new EV. By stacking three incentives and current record-low lease pricing, some drivers may be able to lease or purchase a new or used EV for free or very low cost. Follow these eight steps to find out if you qualify.
Are the expenses of roof repair and electrical panel upgrade to add solar also eligible for the federal tax credit?
Roof repair and electric panel upgrades required to install solar are covered by the 26% tax credit.
Are there any issues with installing on a flat roof, i.e. potential leaks due to installation? Do the installers waterproof around the anchor bolts?
All mounts are ‘flashed’ in and weatherproofed – and panels are typically tilted for additional production.
Before I purchase an EV, I want to install solar panels so that I can use solar power to charge it. Is it true that my utility company will only permit the number of solar panels necessary to produce the amount of electricity I currently use? Is there a way to install the amount of solar panels needed to charge an EV before I buy one and still qualify for et energy metering (NEM)?
You can install more solar panels than you currently have need for, but you will need to sign a waiver to confirm that you are installing more panels for future use. Keep in mind that your overproduction of solar power will not be as financially advantageous until you start using that extra electricity.
Is it a good idea to charge and discharge your own home battery instead of staying connected to the grid and banking net energy metering (NEM) credits?
We recommend staying connected to the grid. Once your home battery is full, excess kWh will be sent to the grid, which will garner some NEM benefits.
What type of roof is appropriate for a solar installation?
Your roof should be in good condition and without much shade. A suitable roof for solar is facing east, south or west.