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  #1  
Old 06-05-2007, 07:27 PM
2007 Prius owner
 
Real Name: William
Location: SC
Hybrids: Toyota Prius
Posts: 17
Default Solar panels for the Prius

As anyone heard anything about or tried/used any of these solar panels?

.

Hybrid Cars Mileage
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  #2  
Old 06-05-2007, 08:41 PM
Pretty Darn Active Enthusiast
 
Hybrids: 2006 & 2007 Toyota Prius
Posts: 397
Default Re: Solar panels for the Prius

http://jalopnik.com/cars/alternative...age-141518.php

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007..._hybrid_ca.php

No but they seem interesting.
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  #3  
Old 06-12-2007, 09:19 AM
Enthusiast
 
Hybrids: toyota prius
Posts: 30
Default Re: Solar panels for the Prius

These are cool looking, but to me, it makes more sense to approach the solar powered car in 2 steps:
Step 1: Mount solar panels on your home's roof (if you own one!), and connect them to the grid. This will help power your home as well, whereas the car-mounted panels will not. Also, these panels will be optimized for sun angle and amount of sunlight every day, rather than the hit-or-miss of where you drive and park your car.
Step 2: Get a plug-in conversion kit for your Prius, to increase the battery capacity and to power it from the grid as much as possible.

While it is true that the exact electrons going from your solar panel are not necessarily the ones powering your Prius, common sense (and science!) tells us it doesn't matter. If I generate 300 kWh of energy from my panels, and my Prius pulls 300 kWh from the grid to get me around town, then I have indeed powered my Prius from my solar panels in every meaningful description of the process.

Another advantage is that when I don't drive, I'm saving up even more power for when I do, using the power grid as essentially a massive battery, which my solar panels incidentally just made a little cleaner.

The disadvantage is that those roof-mounted puppies might cost you a lot more, although perhaps the per-watt cost might be the same (since it's probably easier than the car-mounted installation). Haven't priced it yet, so not sure.

Another disadvantage is your car doesn't have a cool looking solar roof, and those house-mounted panels won't help you if you run out of gas in a nice sunny desert

BTW, I'm going to do this just as soon as I can convince my wife.
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  #4  
Old 06-12-2007, 12:20 PM
Pretty Darn Active Enthusiast
 
Hybrids: 2006 & 2007 Toyota Prius
Posts: 397
Default Re: Solar panels for the Prius

http://www.solarelectricalvehicles.com/

This one interests me but I wonder if installing it will void my new cars warranty.
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  #5  
Old 06-18-2007, 06:41 AM
Active Enthusiast
 
Posts: 126
Default Re: Solar panels for the Prius

Yeah, I'm planning to get solar shingles but I just bought my house so shingles are waaayyy off in the future, especially with a 28k price tag (after incentives). Maybe by then, prices will be lower and incentives will be higher.

.

Infael

2004 Gray Prius with smart start/entry and VSC
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  #6  
Old 06-19-2007, 11:55 AM
Enthusiast
 
Hybrids: toyota prius
Posts: 30
Default Re: Solar panels for the Prius

I hear what you're saying about solar panel cost. A big part of the cost for silicon panels has been due to the competition with computer chip makers for manufacturing facilities, which, as I understand it, is about to change. The big investment capital folks have seen the huge demand for solar as incentive to open some new factories, which ought to be helping us consumers out. Sooner rather than later, one would hope.
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  #7  
Old 06-19-2007, 12:23 PM
Pretty Darn Active Enthusiast
 
Hybrids: 2006 & 2007 Toyota Prius
Posts: 397
Default Re: Solar panels for the Prius

The one bad thing about solar panels is that they are still only about 35% efficient.
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  #8  
Old 06-20-2007, 07:15 AM
Enthusiast
 
Hybrids: toyota prius
Posts: 30
Default Re: Solar panels for the Prius

Quote:
Originally Posted by Resist View Post
The one bad thing about solar panels is that they are still only about 35% efficient.
Your comment about 35% conversion efficiency is pretty accurate for the state-of-the-art panels. In fact, reading from the website, they use 16% efficient panels on the Prius conversion. I'm not sure why it makes solar panels "bad". Either they pay for themselves energy-wise and/or cost-wise, or they don't.

Shoot, the internal combustion engine in my Prius is maybe 20% efficient, and I wouldn't call it a "bad" engine as ICE's go.

In the case of the Prius roof conversion, my guess is that if you actually do park your car in the sun all the time, the panels pay for themselves energy-wise in a couple of years (as is typical of solar panels). That is, at that point, they have generated more energy for your use than was used to make them.

Whether they pay for themselves dollar-wise depends on what the solarelectricalvehicles folks charge for them, which they don't advertise, and the price of the gasoline that the claimed 20 miles of solar-powered driving per day is displacing. And, of course, the amount of time the car and/or roof system lasts.

Anybody got any inside info on the cost of the solar Prius roof system?
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  #9  
Old 06-20-2007, 01:08 PM
Pretty Darn Active Enthusiast
 
Hybrids: 2006 & 2007 Toyota Prius
Posts: 397
Default Re: Solar panels for the Prius

Quote:
Originally Posted by fiver View Post
I'm not sure why it makes solar panels "bad". Either they pay for themselves energy-wise and/or cost-wise, or they don't.
One more thing to think about is that a solar panels efficiency degrades with time, this is why their initial efficiency is important as they won't last forever. Using a higher efficient panel to start with will give you a longer useful life.
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  #10  
Old 06-20-2007, 02:23 PM
Enthusiast
 
Hybrids: toyota prius
Posts: 30
Default Re: Solar panels for the Prius

I've got to agree with you there. Nothing we make in this world lasts forever. My understanding is the panels nowadays have 25-30 years of useful life, though - probably longer life than the Prius you're installing them on. And, for house-installed panels, longer than a number of shingle types would last.

I am curious how quickly they degrade over time; somebody's got to have a graph somewhere.
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Old 06-20-2007, 02:23 PM
 
 
 
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