If you’ve been following what has happened over the pas decade, one thing certainly stands out, everything relentlessly goes up, much faster than our buying power. I often hear that electric vehicles, EV and plug-in hybrids, PHEV are a good deal when it comes to the energy cost of use now, but will happen when electricity prices go up?
Historic Electricity Prices. Historically, electricity prices have gone up matching approximately inflation. This means that this energy is still cheaper than petroleum which has been artificially maintained at a low price, using our tax paying money. On the other hand, electricity has gone up on an average based in Million kilowatt-hours, kWh annually for residents by 1,275,824 in 2003 to 1,373,191 last year. While this is still early in the game of electrifying vehicles coming into the market, their increased use means the price of electricity will go up. Interestingly enough, most utilities are more interested in better managing energy in an efficient way than building new power systems.
So far the average price for electricity in the US is anywhere from 9 cents a Kilowatt to 13. But what happens tomorrow when increasingly energy intensive smart appliances find their ways into our homes, when increasingly EVs and PHEVs are plugging and simply enough, there will be increasingly people? Inevitably, prices will go up. According to various sources, the price of electricity could triple in 3 decades. While this is debatable, at least we can all agree it will go up making a good case for a little preparation in anticipation.
Supplementing Alternative Energy At Home. I had an interesting talk with a local friend who is about to pick up his Model S this weekend. I’ll do a story on it because he has done a superb job planning for his original Roadster and now the Model S. Randy had the insight to install a solar panel array before he bought his Roadster. Today, it powers his EV, but what happens now that his Model S is coming in? Randy needs more solar panels to address the extra charge.
Solar Panel Glut. If you are looking for solar panels currently, you are lucky. There are many companies to choose from with leasing option that has made them very affordable. China has also overproduced panels, which have plummeted prices sharply. On top of it, regular monthly breakthroughs are making these panels increasingly efficient, almost breaking the 50% barrier. There are plenty of companies you can go to that will compete for your business, whether you lease or outright buy. Make them work for you.
In Randy’s case, he has found solar energy companies quoting him anywhere from 9 cents a Kilowatt to 13. In California, we pay on average 13 cents a kilowatt, making such a deal lucrative, even in the short run. Now add to this the lucrative secondary market of worn out battery packs from those first generation hybrids, and you can do the math. New companies are already starting to hunt down tired and used battery packs that are no longer fit for vehicles but make great local energy storage units. If you can get your hands on these packs, you could feasibly charge all day on solar, wind or other alternative energy and either use it at night to power your home and charge your EV and PHEV or simply sell back to utilities next day at high peak hours.
Well, you get the gist, there are more solutions than obstacles and as always, as with anything, the more homework you do, the more you save. In Randy’s case, he, as well as many other people I know are well setup to meet tomorrow’s increasing energy use and rising prices. How will you do? Solar panels leasing has come down a lot and there is no reason you could have them on your roof to supplement your energy and lower your overall costs a few years down the road, making the purchase of an electric vehicle even more advantageous.