1st residential electric car charging station here
Gail and Gareth Foulds are no strangers to energy conservation and green power. They already had 24 solar panels on their house, three solar panels to heat hot water, and 16 additional panels on a shed to power their workshop and guesthouse.
In addition, the 24 solar panels on the house charge a bank of 24 batteries that provide power for 48 hours in case commercial power is lost and clouds block the sun.
So it should come as no surprise that the Foulds are the first in the Eastern Panhandle, and perhaps in the state, to have a residential Electric Vehicle Charging Station installed in their garage.
But they do not yet have an electric car. “We are looking to buy an electric car and have been shopping,” Gail Foulds said.
Gareth Foulds said they are looking for a totally electric car. By the end of 2012, eight more models will be on the market.
Installation and stats
The installation includes 10 photovoltaic solar panels mounted on the roof of the garage and connected to the electric power grid. The charging unit is mounted inside the garage.
The charging station outputs 240 volts ac. Colin Williams of Mountain View Solar said the panels produce 3,000 kilowatt hours a year – enough energy to power an electric car 10,000 to 15,000 miles.
The charger can be installed without solar panels, but Williams said, “For a relatively small investment in solar, you are using the sun’s energy instead of the electric company to charge your vehicle.”
The cost of the charging station is $2,500 to $3,000, and 10 solar panels run just under $20,000, Williams said.
It takes six to eight hours to totally charge an electric car and the range is 80 to 120 miles.
Economic & tax benefits
The Foulds’ electric bill has been zero except for the $5 a month cost to rent the electric meter.
Of course, they haven’t yet started using the charging station, but the special electric meter installed by the power company already shows a 91 kilowatt hour credit since the solar panels were installed several weeks ago.
Federal and state tax credits are available to recover up to one-third of the costs.
The Foulds are also able to sell Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECS).
For each 1,000 kilowatt hours generated by the solar panels and put back onto the electric grid, one SREC is received. The SRECs are auctioned by a Washington company and power companies in D.C., Ohio and Pennsylvania bid on them.
The Foulds received a check for $1,000 this year for the sale of their SRECs.
But they are not in it for the money. “We are doing it for our grandkids and because it is the right thing to do,” they said.
“To me the real key for Berkeley Springs is that next year more dealers will be selling electric cars in the Baltimore and Washington metro areas,” Gareth Foulds said.
He thinks businesses such as bed and breakfasts that have one or more charging stations will attract more business.
Williams added there are now cell phone apps that let people know which businesses have charging stations.