Living Sustainably
in the shadow of climate change

March 2015
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What our electric bill would be without the Chevy Volt
Filed under: General, Solar Power, Electric Vehilces
Posted by: Guy @ 11:48 pm

Since we purchased the Chevy Volt, I have installed five more solar panels on my workshop building to achieve a total array specification of around 5.8 kW peak capacity.  On a good sunny day our solar array can generate over 30 kWh, while the Volt requires a little over 13 kWh for a full charge.  In theory that should leave us with a significant surplus in the summer and allow us to drive the Volt for free on those days.  In reality we have yet to see a zero or negative monthly electric bill, partly because it has been an unusually overcast year to date (climate change?).

I had hoped that the additional panels would help to offset the charging power that the Volt uses via the 240 V charging station that draws 3700 Watts for 3.5 hours to fully charge the vehicle.  So recently I decided to go through all of my solar power data and the records I keep of weekly charging power for the Volt and calculate what our electric bill would be if we did not have an electric vehicle.  Here is a chart that I created showing our calculated monthly energy bills:

The calculated average monthly bill would be $10.57.   This was my original goal for the solar power system - to provide almost all of the power for our home.  So essentially I have accomplished that, now I have to think about where to put additional panels to offset the power needed to charge the Volt!  I have been eyeing the east facing roof of the house, but my concern is that it is so high that I would be uncomfortable doing the installation with the help of neighbors and friends.  I really dislike paying other people to do things I should be able to do myself.  So for now this is a stalemate.

One Response to “What our electric bill would be without the Chevy Volt”

  1. rj Says:
    I guess there is no good spot for a ground mounted array? It seems cleaning the panels on a higher roof would also be a concern. Otherwise I would suggest investing in a “horizontal lifeline system” (search ebay)and a roofing harness to ensure safety.