There is an expression derived from Scottish philosopher Thomas Reid that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. It’s clearly true in the literal sense, but has come to be used figuratively to illustrate the importance of well-roundedness in strategies, teams, projects, etc.
The expression also applies to one of the hottest trends in the automotive industry – electric vehicles, or EVs. Their popularity is booming, and for many behind the trend it’s as much (or more) about protecting the climate and environment as it is about saving money.
Electric vehicles are better for the environment because they don’t emit pollutants like standard combustion engines do when burning gasoline. Instead, an EV’s electric motor is powered by a battery. It creates no emissions and can be recharged over and over again.
But that electric motor is only as clean as the electricity that charged its battery. According to the EPA, less than 9% of the United States’ electricity comes from the kind of clean, renewable sources (wind, hydro, geothermal, solar, and biomass) that would truly make your EV driving pollution-free.
Of these renewable sources, solar electricity is the most accessible and affordable way to charge your EV at home. Solar panels are durable, self-sufficient, and can generate power anywhere the sun shines. At home, solar electricity costs less than utility power, especially over time as utility rates rise. So not only can you charge your EV with PV – you can power your whole house with it and reduce your utility bills, too.
Maybe the thought of acquiring a new EV and a home solar system to get the most out of it (or, more to the point, put the least into it) is giving you pause. Pulling the trigger on both investments could be pricey. But it doesn’t have to be. Both save you big bucks in the long run – electricity is much cheaper than gasoline, and electricity from the sun on your roof is cheaper than from the utility. And homeowners in some areas can get solar installed for $0 down with Real Goods Solar.
Of course, you don’t have to go EV and PV at the same time. But what if you could do both – and be a true smart energy hero – for free? Enter the Real Goods Solar Smart Electric Sweepstakes for a chance to win a 3-year electric drive lease from Smart, plus a 1.5 kW solar electric system to power it!