Minnesotans have been paying more for energy costs and the trend is likely to continue. Utility companies have proposed rate hikes, while gasoline costs are dictated by ever-limited fossil fuel availabilities and skyrocketing demand as summer intensifies.
One way to fix electricity cost hikes is solar panels. A solution to gas spikes is an electric vehicle (EV) that doesn’t consume fossil fuels. But how about combining solar power and EVs together?
Solar panels with electric vehicle chargers help consumers gain control of energy costs, at home and on the road. Additionally, there are federal incentives available to help with both solar installation and the purchase of qualifying EV. Find out more from All Energy Solar.
Sticker shock at the gas pump
Even though new car registrations were down 18 percent overall, registrations for new EVs rose 60 percent in the first three months of 2022 according to Automotive News and Car and Driver. EVs now account for 4.6 percent of all passenger vehicles being sold in the United States, and given the prices for gasoline this year it’s easy to understand why their popularity is soaring.
The average cost for regular gas in Minnesota at the beginning of June was $4.58 per gallon. That’s a 66-cent jump compared to May, with no obvious signs of relief in sight as the Minnesota State Legislature failed to agree on a solution before adjourning the regular session.
People have been turning to electric vehicles in part because they are less expensive to run and maintain. Charging an EV at home can add 33 percent to the electric bill, which in Minnesota adds up to about $38 extra per month. When one considers that $38 at today’s pump prices would likely not keep a gas-powered vehicle running for one week, let alone a month, the math really starts to add up.
Jolted by high electricity bills
Typically, the cost of electricity and energy grows by about 3 percent every year. For January 2022, though, the national average residential electricity rate was up 8 percent from a year earlier, the biggest annual increase in more than a decade. In Minnesota, Xcel Energy customers saw a 6.4 percent rate boost that started January 1, and the company has already asked for more hikes in the future. Many other utilities throughout the state also raised rates, though there were a rare few that held steady.
Some of the expenses are a result of continued reliance on fossil fuel energy that’s becoming more expensive and scarce - about 25 percent of the state’s power is still coal-fueled, while 20 percent is natural gas. To round out the rest of Minnesota’s energy mix, 26 percent is nuclear and 29 percent is from renewable energies like hydro, wind, and solar.
A significant percentage of growing rate costs, though, are meant ostensibly to update an aging grid that can’t fully support the current energy needs of consumers. Instead of customers simply paying for electricity, they’re also being charged to help the utility make upgrade investments that will take more years and more rate hikes to complete.
With solar power, electricity rates can be locked-in to predictable expenses for the lifetime of the system. Most solar panels and their vital components are built to last for 25 to 30 years or more of reliable energy. With a payback period of eight to 12 years depending on the size of the array, solar panels can pay for themselves three to four times over before they would potentially need to be replaced.
Two renewable choices working together
As more consumers look to address their energy costs, avoid rising gas prices, or offset their carbon footprint, demand for both solar panels and EVs have reached record highs. Savvy consumers are making room for both in their lives, whether it’s buying the EV first with plans for solar later, buying solar with an EV charger for a future new vehicle, or the lucky ones who are able to do both at the same time.
When it comes to powering a home or business, there is no cheaper way accessible to the general public than solar energy. The International Energy Agency (IEA) came to the conclusion in its World Energy Outlook 2020 that solar power is now the cheapest electricity in history. The technology is less expensive than coal and gas in most places.
As for charging an electric vehicle at home, doing so through self-provided solar energy is the most cost-effective means available. Electricity produced by solar panels is more economical than buying electricity from the local utility directly. Although the initial amount saved may be pennies on the dollar, solar could easily save thousands of dollars in fuel costs over the lifetime of the vehicle, especially as utility and gas prices continue to rise every year.
Additionally, incentives are available to help consumers make the switch to solar or buy an EV. This is the last year to receive the 26 percent federal Solar Investment Tax Credit before it falls to 22 percent in 2023. The Qualified Plug-in Electric Drive Motor Vehicle Tax Credit offers a tax credit worth up to $7,500 for individuals who buy a new electric vehicle that meet certain standards.
How do you find out more about solar panels with an electric vehicle charger? Take a deeper dive by downloading our ebook, EV Charging + Solar: The Perfect Pairing.
A trusted name in solar energy
As a top-rated solar power provider in Minnesota, All Energy Solar makes switching to solar energy easy for property owners of all kinds — residential, commercial, agricultural, municipal, and more. Our solar professionals have the knowledge and experience to reveal the programs accessible in your area and every other aspect of your project, from initial property and energy analysis through design, construction, and beyond.
Now is the time to take control of your energy costs for2022 and every year after that. Get started today by requesting a free virtual solar consultation from All Energy Solar!