Dubbo is the No 1 city and postcode in NSW for installed Solar PV systems. It could also be the No 1 city for Electric Vehicles (EV’s), not only in NSW, but Australia wide.
Dubbo has already established its credentials in the Electric Vehicle space, having hosted the Australian Premiere of the film “Revenge of the Electric Car” in May last year. On that occasion, a Tesla Roadster drove from Sydney to Dubbo on a single charge, establishing that electric vehicles can not only perform and look good, but are not range limited. Most vehicle trips are short, and most households have more than one vehicle, including my own.
Solar and electric vehicles are a natural fit. A 1.5kW solar system will provide enough energy to run an EV for 17,500kms per annum. (4kWh’s per day/kW installed and 8kms/kWh). A 3kW solar system, operating at 80% output (due to temperature, cloud, dust etc) will provide the 10amps continuous current to charge a vehicle.
A vehicle ‘charged from the sun’ is effectively free to run with ZERO environmental impact. EV’s often have longer periods between service than their more ‘complicated’ internal combustion engine equivalent. To paraphrase Alan Shepard (the astronaut) ”…I’m sitting in a machine with thousands of components, each supplied by the lowest price tenderer”. Electric motors (whatever type) have one moving part – a rotor inside a stator.
Business houses in Dubbo could get on board, not only by buying EV’s as their town ‘runabout’ but providing charge points near their front doors (15 amp socket for cars, 10amp for scooters).
If that business has solar on its roof (as many already do), there is no energy cost. Even at typical energy rates of 30c/kWh, a one hour charge would cost 75 cents, insignificant to what a ‘cashed up’ EV owner might spend in their store or around Dubbo.
Travelling EV owners would be encouraged to stay in Dubbo for a few days to ‘recharge their batteries’ both literally and metaphorically. EV charge points could be established at our motels, clubs, tourist attractions (Zoo) community centres (cultural centre, theatre, library etc) many of which already have solar.
The NSW Solar Bonus Scheme (FiT) will end in December 2016, and as a result of solar customers coming off GROSS and onto NET metering, I anticipate an surge in EV ownership in 2017… if not before.
Some people thought I was ‘crazy’ when I got my first Prius in 2004 (I have had 5) and Solar panels in 2008. From next week you will see my EV ‘buzzing’ around town….feel free to tell me I’m crazy again…or have a chat about these ideas, perhaps at the BioIndustry Expo on Wednesday 10th April at the Dubbo RSL club, where the vehicle will be on display.
Chris Dalitz, is an owner of an electric vehicle and lives near Dubbo. He works in the electricity industry, and is the immediate past president of the Electric Energy Society of Australia, a technical society within Engineers Australia. These views, contained in a letter to the editor to the local newspaper, which he allowed us to republish, are his own.