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New Study Suggests Undeniable Link Between EV and Solar Consumers

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【Summary】A study from the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative (SGCC) further explores the connections that drive both types of customers to sustainable energy. Through the survey, the organization discovered that around 50 percent of U.S. consumers of solar power or EVs are using both.

Original Michael Cheng    Nov 03, 2016 8:45 PM PT
New Study Suggests Undeniable Link Between EV and Solar Consumers

Solar energy and electric vehicles (EVs) have a lot more in common than you might think. Consumers of solar energy use photovoltaics technology to power homes without relying on nonrenewable energy sources, such as fossil fuels and diesel (for portable generators). EV customers are also fond of alternatives to harmful energy, which is why they are early adopters of non-fuel dependent cars. 

Such interests are the most obvious similarities between the two groups. A study from the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative (SGCC) further explores the connections that drive both types of customers to sustainable energy. Through the survey, the organization discovered that around 50 percent of U.S. consumers of solar power or EVs are using both. Moreover, researchers claim that both groups are interested in each other's green practices. For carmakers, this association could help shine light on the profile of an EV customer, which can be used to boost sales, adoption rates and marketing campaigns.

 

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One and the Same

During the study, a total of 1,571 participants answered the nationwide survey. The questionnaire included the following sustainable energy mediums: residential solar, community solar, green power plans and EVs. Roughly 22 percent of all respondents mentioned that they understand the technology behind both solar power and EVs. Interestingly, the two groups can agree that battery performance is a huge barrier that must be addressed in the near future. When it comes to owning a PV system and EV, some individuals are considering other options outside of traditional sole ownership. This might be due to expensive costs associated with adopting both technologies.

"By taking a deep dive into the perceptions of early solar and EV users, we are able to provide energy leaders with timely and critical data to help them envision and execute a modernized grid – one that's best able to implement clean, renewable energy for the 21st century," said Patty Durand, president and CEO of SGCC.

 

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 The Bigger Picture

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the study is that solar energy is bringing several types of green energy products (including EVs) together to supplement a modern, sustainable lifestyle. Many EV owners are not satisfied with plugging their cars into the grid at the end of the day; they want to make sure that their power source also contributes to local clean energy initiatives.

There are a handful of companies and organizations that are bridging the gap between solar power and EVs. In California, the San Mateo County Office of Sustainability is offering workshops for early adopters of solar energy and zero-emission cars (both products covered in the same session). In the tech industry, Elon Musk has acknowledged the undeniable link between Tesla's EVs and robust line of Powerwall solar batteries. The entrepreneur proposed a merger between Tesla and SolarCity, which will be decided by shareholders on November 17.

"By leveraging SolarCity's installation network and Tesla's global retail footprint, we can do this in a way that is seamless for our customers and that we expect will create significant value for our shareholders," said Tesla in a blog post.

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