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Electric Cars Vs. Solar Panels: Which One’s The Gateway Drug?

Among the 100,000 or so U.S. drivers with plug-in electric cars, it’s widely noted that a lot of them charge their cars using photovoltaic solar arrays.

But which comes first, using solar power or buying an electric car?

Remember that environmental concerns are just one of several reasons to buy an electric car.

Thus far, we’ve not seen any surveys that address which comes first, the plug-in car or the solar panels (hint, hint).

But we do have a few data points showing the crossover between electric-car ownership and having solar power on your house.

One set of figures comes from the California Center for Sustainable Energy.

That entity processes the state’s rebates for both its solar incentives and the Air Resources Board purchase incentives for plug-in cars through its clean fuels program. So CCSE has both data points.

It first published data on solar installations in a February 2012 surveyof 1,419 plug-in electric car owners–when California had just 12,000 plug-in cars on its roads.

Of those, a remarkable 39 percent then currently owned a solar photovoltaic system. Moreover, a further 17 percent were seriously considering a solar installation within the next year.

The vast majority of survey respondents were then Nissan Leaf drivers, meaning the survey was not limited to owners of $109,000 Tesla Roadsters.



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