PlugShare, the maker of an electric vehicle (EV) charging station locator app, announced the California statewide launch of “Drive Solar,” a first-of-its-kind program that now provides eligible PlugShare community members in the state with a free home EV charging station plus free station installation when they go solar with Sungevity.1
Drive Solar solves one of the most significant post-purchase inconveniences of driving an EV: installing a residential charging station. After accounting for the cost of the charging station, electrician labor, shipping, permitting, materials and a potential panel upgrade, installing a home charging station can cost an EV driver upwards of $2,100.2 “Drive Solar” capitalizes on the operational efficiencies that emerge when the electrical work for the EV charging station is accomplished during the residential solar system installation process. The program simplifies life for the homeowner, combining two projects into one.
Plus, through PlugShare’s program, EV drivers enjoy the installation of a GE WattStation™ at home, which serves as a major upgrade over the standard wall outlet adapter that comes with an EV. The GE WattStation™ is a best-in-class charging station from a globally-respected manufacturer that can deliver up to 20 miles of range for each hour of charging. For comparison, a standard 120V wall outlet only delivers 2 to 5 miles of range per hour of charging.3
“At PlugShare we create programs that offer our community value and break down the barriers to EV adoption,” said COOForrest North. “We designed the Drive Solar program to help EV drivers in California get Level 2 charging at home while incentivizing the cleanest form of transit, solar-powered driving.”
Recently, Tesla grabbed headlines when it announced in early April that it had received 325,000 pre-orders for its eagerly anticipated Model 3, claiming the biggest one-week launch of any product ever.4 Having received strong interest from Tesla drivers, PlugShare further refined Drive Solar to cater to aspiring Model 3 owners and current Model S/X drivers by offering them free installation of a 240V NEMA 14-50 outlet and 50A breaker to get the most out of their 10 kW Tesla Mobile Connector.
PlugShare has chosen Sungevity, Inc. as the solar provider for the program. Sungevity has already made great strides reducing the inconvenience of going green by leveraging proprietary remote solar design technology to deliver an accurate solar quote without requiring homeowners to schedule a home visit. Sungevity’s green credentials are recognized throughout the industry, having been endorsed by the Sierra Club® and other esteemed environmental organizations.
“Our ‘Drive Solar’ program is a natural fit for two companies that take pride in making their customers’ lives easier,” said Kelly Griswold, Sungevity’s Vice President of Business Development. “Furthermore, we know from recent studies that EV ownership can be a stepping stone to adopting home solar. Offering a complimentary charging station plus the installation of that station with a solar system agreement is a very attractive package that saves the customer both time and money.”
The statewide launch of the “Drive Solar” partnership builds on the success of a Bay Area pilot program deployed last fall. The solar energy systems installed in the pilot are expected to offset the equivalent of over 8.4 million gasoline driven miles,5 in addition to giving PlugShare users more control over the power supply of their vehicles and the cost of their home energy bills.
According to PlugInsights, PlugShare’s consumer research division, about 12% of drivers who acquired an electric vehicle in 2015 had rooftop solar,6 which is many times higher than the national household solar rate that is below 1%.7 The number suggests that the fast-growing electric vehicle market presents a budding new opportunity for residential solar installers to grow market penetration while reducing customer acquisition costs.
1 Promotion is available to residents of select Sungevity service areas in California only, and subject to requirements for installation. It is available for a limited time, only while supplies last, and cannot be combined with any other promotion offered by Sungevity. The promotion reflects a 100% discount on covered EVSE material and installation costs under applicable terms and conditions. A home’s ultimate suitability for solar or EVSE installation is not guaranteed; it will vary based on several factors including roof conditions and where the EVSE would be placed. Please ask Sungevity for a free copy of the Drive Solar Promotion Participation Agreement for more details. CA CSLB 909236.
2 GE WattStation™ retails at $549 (before tax); approximate value of three hours of installation services is $300; permitting up to $100; a new breaker panel if needed, up to $1000; miscellaneous materials up to $150. Values for permitting, and miscellaneous materials are based on the outer ranges estimated for these items in Pulling Back the Veil on EV Charging Station Costs, a study by the Rocky Mountain Institute (http://blog.rmi.org/blog_2014_04_29_pulling_back_the_veil_on_ev_charging_station_costs).
3 Developing Infrastructure to Charge Plug-In Electric Vehicles (http://www.afdc.energy.gov/fuels/electricity_infrastructure.html)
4 Tesla Motors, “The Week Electric Vehicles Went Mainstream” (https://www.teslamotors.com/blog/the-week-electric-vehicles-went-mainstream)
5 Estimate was derived by entering the projected output of all of the solar systems installed in the pilot into the EPA Equivalencies Calculator (April 2014).
6 Figure from PlugInsights survey of 673 EV drivers who acquired their vehicle from January 2015 to June 2015. Trendspotting: 5 Ways EV Drivers Are Evolving (http://company.plugshare.com/news/2015/07/trendspotting-5-ways-ev-drivers-are-evolving/)
7 There were approximately 700,000 US households with solar in June 2015 (http://time.com/3933638/solar-panels-house/), or 0.6% of the 116.7 million US households recorded by the 2010 Census (http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/cph-1-1.pdf).