adric22
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how much would you pay for solar panels?

Mon Mar 12, 2012 1:52 pm

I'm just curious if Nissan were to outfit the Leaf with solar panels as an option, what people would be willing to pay for them.

I'm thinking if they put them on the roof, the dash, and the hood they should be able to get at least 200 watts out of them. So if my math is correct, that should be about 1 kwh every 5 hours. So a whole day in the Summer sun (assuming approx 10 hours) would get you about 2 kwh. So I'm thinking that would give you a maximum of 10 miles of range each day, for free. That is about my entire daily commute. If you didn't drive the car at all, you could probably charge it up completely from turtle mode in 10 days or so.

Just looking at my daily commute which is slightly less than 10 miles per day, I could essentially drive my Leaf to work and back without ever plugging it in. That is assuming it wasn't raining or overcast. Not that this would save me a bundle of money since it costs very little to charge up my Leaf every day. But I'm thinking about situations where people live in apartments that do not have the ability to charge there. My best friend, for example, lives about a mile from his work. But he lives in an apartment and his work will not allow him to charge either. He rarely drives anywhere else besides work. A solar-powered Leaf would actually work for him. On those rare occasions he needed to drive further, he'd have to find some place to plug in. Or, he might be able to recoup the charge over a period of a couple of weeks being that he would accumulate more charge during a day than he would actually use.

I see this as being a real possibility. The same idea could obviously be applied to a Prius. My wife's 2010 Prius has a solar panel covering half of the roof and most people don't even realize it is there because it is blended so seamlessly with the roof. It generates 60 watts and is just for running the cooling fan.

The question is, what would everyone be willing to pay extra for such an option?
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TomT
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Re: how much would you pay for solar panels?

Mon Mar 12, 2012 1:55 pm

This has been discussed in detail numerous times here. The bottom line is that the physics are such that the ROI simply does not exist...
adric22 wrote:I'm just curious if Nissan were to outfit the Leaf with solar panels as an option, what people would be willing to pay for them.
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JeremyW
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Re: how much would you pay for solar panels?

Mon Mar 12, 2012 6:11 pm

Your 10 miles of range a day is too optimistic. :) Even here in sunny southern California, very few cars will have 10 hours of "good" sunshine i.e., maximum potential with no or very little shading. Also, apartments are usually multi-story units which are densely packed, producing shadows galore, or worse parking in a structure...

Also, you will now have to have some sort of inverter on to pump up your solar to the traction pack voltage. Even if your pumping out 200w, there's some being taken off the top to run it. And here's the kicker: you want put that DC/DC converter you already have on board up to the task? Heh, bye bye efficiency; switching mode power supplies are not efficient at low power levels relative to their maximum, and that thing needs to be rated to pump out lots of amperage in the other direction. And it's difficult (expensive) to make low power high efficiency switchers that are doing a 1:33 step up!

adric22 wrote:My wife's 2010 Prius has a solar panel covering half of the roof and most people don't even realize it is there because it is blended so seamlessly with the roof. It generates 60 watts and is just for running the cooling fan.


The current conciseness is that solar is best invested on the roof of your house, not your car. I will say that if you *have* to have it on the car, stick to climate control and keeping parasitic low voltage things happy, and you'll see your money better well spent. ;)

For extra credit, use thermal solar to help warm up the packs in winter time. :lol:
Last edited by JeremyW on Mon Mar 12, 2012 10:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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keydiver
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Re: how much would you pay for solar panels?

Mon Mar 12, 2012 7:04 pm

adric22 wrote:should be able to get at least 200 watts out of them. So if my math is correct, that should be about 1 kwh every 5 hours. So a whole day in the Summer sun (assuming approx 10 hours) would get you about 2 kwh.


No! Even the best locations in the US only get about 1/2 of that. After you add in conversion losses, shading, dust, dirt, wrong mounting angle, etc it is WAY not worth it.
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Re: how much would you pay for solar panels?

Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:35 pm

Not if you paid me. Never seen a red solar panel.
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LakeLeaf
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Re: how much would you pay for solar panels?

Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:57 pm

adric22 wrote:The question is, what would everyone be willing to pay extra for such an option?


The only real reason panels would need to be as described is to be able to get charge while driving. Since the range is so limited (60-90 minutes of driving), and the amount of range gained so small, it doesn't seem that attractive to make some of the body panels out of solar cells.

If you really want solar charging - how about designing a top of the car that covers a big pop-out array of cells. Then at least when you park and deploy you might get a reasonable charge. Of course, you'd probably have to employ the engineers who designed the batcar, so it would probably only work in the movies!

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JeremyW
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Re: how much would you pay for solar panels?

Mon Mar 12, 2012 10:28 pm

LakeLeaf wrote:If you really want solar charging - how about designing a top of the car that covers a big pop-out array of cells. Then at least when you park and deploy you might get a reasonable charge. Of course, you'd probably have to employ the engineers who designed the batcar, so it would probably only work in the movies!


Not if these things start pooping up on all the parking lots to beat you to the sun:
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rmay635703
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Re: how much would you pay for solar panels?

Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:25 am

LakeLeaf wrote:
adric22 wrote:The question is, what would everyone be willing to pay extra for such an option?


The only real reason panels would need to be as described is to be able to get charge while driving. Since the range is so limited (60-90 minutes of driving), and the amount of range gained so small, it doesn't seem that attractive to make some of the body panels out of solar cells.


What would be even better than panels would be if the leaf would do everything to eliminate the 500 watts it uses to "idle" My 1981 EV uses 500 watts at idle when I have the heater running!

Panels if they come down significantly in price and increase significantly in efficiency would be viable, a solar panel should be included on a $37K+ car that is big enough to maintain batteries when not in use should be standard equip. I would guess a 20-40watt panel.

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adric22
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Re: how much would you pay for solar panels?

Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:04 am

rmay635703 wrote:What would be even better than panels would be if the leaf would do everything to eliminate the 500 watts it uses to "idle" My 1981 EV uses 500 watts at idle when I have the heater running!

Wow! That is news to me. I didn't know it used that much. I wonder where all of that power is going? Surely the computer systems don't use that much?
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abasile
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Re: how much would you pay for solar panels?

Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:31 am

I think it's more like 250 W.
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