PROFITABLE & PRACTICAL
Wouldn’t it be great if we could profit from doing good! That would be a winning combination, right? Well it’s perfectly possible. Our core purpose is to allow everyone to exploit the now rock bottom prices of solar technology and ever lowering price of electric vehicles so that we can all do just that.
We can run our electric vehicles at a price far lower than running a fossil fuelled car when powered by solar, we can buy a used 2014 Nissan Leaf electric vehicle at the same price as a used 2014 Skoda Octavia, we can power our house for a price less than the DEH and sell excess solar power back to DEH allowing us to purchase extra during periods of less solar or better still, store solar energy in our car’s battery to use for later (Vehicle to House V2H). We can also build dedicated storage batteries for this purpose. We know all this because we have been doing it for 2 years and have built up the knowledge to share with you all.
And while we install solar for powering our homes and keeping us mobile, we are massively reducing our reliance on burning fossil fuels and the green house gases that create climate change. We can therefore ‘Save your pocket and save the planet’.
Being a ‘Prosumer’ means being a producer and consumer of electricity which lowers the amount of predominantly ‘Dirty’ fossil fuels burnt for your consumption. In fact if your solar system is sized carefully and with battery storage technology you can use all your production yourself. It’s great fun!
Like a computer game dashboard when you match your consumption with production meaning of course you pay nothing apart from the initial outlay for the equipment or whatever finance package you have selected. It’s a great feeling, doing good for the world whilst saving money, one we have been doing for the last 2 years.
We did all the solar equipment acquisition and installation ourselves together with our team, investing our own hard earned cash without any guarantee it was going to work. Now that our idea has worked, we want to share that knowledge and experience with all Solar Electric Club members for free so you can do it yourselves. If you are not sure about the tech we will guide you or get us to do all or part of it for you if you prefer. There really are benefits of joining the club and being part of a community.
Solar systems are designed to last 25 years and are connected every day all day and will generate during daylight. Vehicles however can lay idle for 90% of their lives which makes no sense and is a waste of resources. Better then, there is an alternative to owning, that of sharing. We are undertaking a pilot programme now where a group of us share ownership which makes sense financially and environmentally in terms of less cars parked on the road and less materials used for their construction.
- To promote the mass uptake of sustainable mobility and living by removing the ‘chicken and egg’ obstacle to the uptake of electric vehicles by offering both electric vehicles and clean solar powered charging equipment. See notes below.
- To offer affordable and profitable sustainable mobility and living to the masses globally.
- To demystify sustainably powered electric mobility, making it accessible and understandable to all.
- To reinvest all profits into improving the Solar Electric Club technology and offer generally, thus removing the fear of profitability.
- Other clean renewable energy such as wind energy are not excluded from the offer but are generally not as widely applicable on a small scale as solar. Currently the market is dominated by suppliers of one or the other. This polarisation of the market is an obstacle to both the suppliers and potential customers of sustainably powered mobility.
- Tesla is a notable exception to the above at the premium end of the market that offer electric vehicles, solar energy, charging equipment and battery storage.
- Our vehicles are mostly sourced from the used second hand market and tested with proprietary battery diagnostic equipment.
- Lack of technical knowledge is a barrier for entry for many who are fearful of electric mobility and solar energy in general. Our forums and willingness to engage help to dispel fears.
Hermit crabs are nature’s lovable improviser, foraging disused shell’s and putting them to good use in a second life so we thought yes, perfect for the circular economy.
Yes, by advocating solar thus avoiding the wasteful and polluting aspects of fossil fuelled mobility, plus, to a degree reusing cars and bikes with the help of local labour and giving them a second life by is also partly circular, only partly because we are are extending the life but not infinitely. At the same time we also use new battery cells for our bikes plus new solar PV panels and inverters in order to offer customers long life products. Not all new products have been designed to be continually upgraded so in this respect we are not circular but overall, balancing the new and used part of the business you may conclude we are as far as currently possible circular.
China with its over 1 billion home market plus global exports can exploit economies of scale and get their prices super low. China however does not observe the same labour and environmental laws as we do in the EU so we are in effect supporting dubious practices, not to mention the loss of local jobs in a globalised economy. Chinese products vary in quality from great to trash and forget about any after sales service should anything go wrong so it’s a bit of a lottery. Our policy is to use a maximum of local labour and not to import whole Chinese products but on occasion if a viable local option does not exist then we may choose Chinese products.
Traditional power stations that power the grid may burn coal, oil and gas that produces vast amounts of CO2 and other greenhouse gases and particulates the cause global warming and climate change. Currently renewable clean forms of energy are only a small percentage of most countries grid supply. In Greece the percentage of renewable energy that is integrated into the grid is below 20%. In addition, traditional fossil fuel burning power stations are very inefficient at converting heat energy to useable energy plus the fuel is sourced from unstable parts of the world and refined, shipped and then distributed by truck all adding to the embodied carbon footprint. If the damage resulting from climate change costs were built into the cost of fuel it would be by far the most expensive source.
Solar systems only produce power during sunlight conditions so it’s best to look at the weather forecast and plan your day so that charging can be done during hours of sunlight. We’ve been doing it that way for over 2 years and it’s actually fine, like hanging your washing out when it’s sunny rather than using a mechanical and electrical dryer, perfectly logical when you think about it. But it’s not always possible and that’s why net metering is a good solution that means you sell your excess solar production to the grid and purchase energy from the grid when there is insufficient solar energy to meet your needs. The selling price to the grid is less than the purchase price of the grid because there are various taxes built into the purchase price that you don’t get back. The other alternative is static battery storage of solar energy which is possibly the best solution for those living off grid. A variation of battery storage is V2H where the vehicle traction batteries store energy when energy is plentiful and give back to the grid when loads are high. This may not be suitable if there is only 1 car in your fleet. Our own experiments in this new technology reveal there are considerable losses involved each time you transfer energy especially when converting DC to AC current and vice versa. To summarise we still need the grid to avoid using expensive solar energy storage batteries but try to minimise our usage.
Once the solar charging system is installed driving and electric car is free. The more you drive and electric car the more fossil fuel costs you save. Based on around a 30,000 km a year distance driven, the pay back may be around 4.5 years. Less distance driven means a longer pay back period, and more distance means a shorter pay back period. With car fleets that are shared vehicles remain idle for less time and are driven more shortening their payback period and increasing lifetime savings.
Yes, electric vehicle batteries do degrade over time. A 2014 Nissan Leaf with 50km on the odometer that may originally have been capable of 120km range on one charge may degrade to 100km on 1 charge after 5 years and then continue degrading on a similar linear basis. For a city car where typical return journeys may only be up to 50km then there is no problem apart from the need to charge more frequently. Intercity journeys would be tiresome with such a short range and it would be better to take a train. Remember traditional internal combustion engines also degrade over time.
Yes of course you could buy yourself. Purchasing equipment is only one part of our reason for being. If you first do some research buying from the market is a perfectly credible activity. In fact we are more than happy for more people to dump internal combustion engines and source their energy from clean sources whether they buy from us or not. You could even buy some components from the market and some from us, we don’t mind. But in any case still be a member of the club in order to share your experiences with us and others so we all grow wiser together, that’s the whole point. Plus if you would like to share any or all of your kit with others and be part of the network that would also be great. However if you are like us when we first started and feel slightly nervous about getting into this new technology then we can offer real insight, reassurance, guidance plus a great one stop shop making the whole experience as stress free as possible.
No, nothing that has any component that is manufactured that has an embedded energy and consequent carbon footprint. That goes for everything. But over the lifetime of the product, 25 years in the case of solar panels then compared to internal combustion engine cars fuelled by polluting fossil fuels and traditional polluting fossil fuel burning power stations the solar electric way is by hugely cleaner by a massive amount. One footnote here is lithium ion batteries. Lithium is a relatively plentiful element that is mined and like any mining process has an overall negative impact on the environment, still much much less than traditional cars and power stations but we’d like it to be less impactful. Eventually over time batteries will become more efficient, with longer life and capacity, but in the long run we see hydrogen as the ultimate solution, when storage and compression challenges are solved plus fuel cells that convert hydrogen to electricity become a reality.
Nissan Leafs are the largest selling electric car globally with 400,000 on the road out of a total electric car fleet of 3,000,000 which makes them well known, plenty of spare parts from breakers and when the Nissan Leaf was introduced in 2011 was named car of the year. We have been driving them since summer 2018 and really like their reliability and practicality.
Teslas look great and have amazing performance, at a price! and therefore at some point in the future when used Teslas become affordable to ‘Everyman’ then we would consider dealing in them. As much as we admire Elon Musk’s brave entrepreneurial skills and love of innovation, the whole Tesla offer is not exactly geared to allow ‘Everyman’ to easily fix and rebuild. This criticism can be also be leveyed to the car industry as a whole. But if you really want a Tesla we can help you or if you already have one you will still be welcome in the club.
Our whole reason for being is to promote solar energy and renewables generally plus electric mobility as a viable and non polluting alternative to the current polluting fossil fuelled cars and power stations. The alure of money is for one thing and one thing only, to reinvest into promoting, improving the physical and virtual elements of the solar electric club so they are even more awesome.
Currently we are testing the concept of car sharing with our own fleet of Nissan Leafs including the possibility of V2H. We hope to fix any bugs and have a market ready offer by the end of the year and will keep you posted.
Much of the cars and bikes we sell are restored used vehicles and therefore the guarantee only covers work we have made on the car or bike post purchase. We test our vehicles with digital diagnostic equipment and share the results with prospective buyers so as to be as transparent as possible and encourage potential customers to properly test the vehicle.
For the moment we are testing new innovative solar electric systems for marine use and aim to release details by the end of the year 2020. In the meantime we may offer certain whole items from the market.