British motorists with fully-electric cars can drive 1,000 miles for just over five pounds by using solar energy, according to new figures released today from British Gas.
With high petrol prices, households with fully electric cars such as the 100% electric Nissan Leaf can install solar panels and use the energy produced to offset the costs of running their car.
Actor Robert Llewellyn, best known for playing Kryten in cult British comedy Red Dwarf, is one of the first motorists to run his car with the help of solar panels.
Since having his panels installed by British Gas three months ago, Llewellyn has clocked up 2680 miles in his Nissan Leaf. Thanks to his solar panels, he has generated enough energy to provide 85% of the charge required to cover this distance. As a result, his journeys have cost him a fraction of the amount the same mileage would set him back if he had used a petrol powered car.
Cost comparisons per 1,000 miles.
Petrol car £150
Electric car £37.10
Solar powered electric car £5.38
As well as providing the home with free renewable electricity, solar panels also provide an annual income thanks to the Government’s Feed-in Tariff (FiT). The scheme rewards solar owners for all the renewable electricity their panels generate, earning a yearly income. The payments are tax-free, index-linked and guaranteed for 25 years.
The cost for a 2.52kWp solar panel installation like Robert’s is £11,500 from British Gas. With the average driver travelling 12,000 miles a year(4), an electric car owner with a solar array of this size can expect to save over £1,736 on petrol costs with an estimated annual FiT payment of £1,055(5). These benefits add up to a total of £2,791 annually. This means the solar panels will pay for themselves in just over 4.5 years.
Llewellyn said: “I’m a massive fan of electric cars, and have been for years. With solar-generated electricity, I don’t have to worry about the price at the petrol pump.
“Using solar energy is a fantastically efficient way of getting around and I’ve been amazed at how much energy has been generated even in our typically English, cloudy weather.”
Dean Keeling, managing director of British Gas Smart Homes, said: “Through solar-generated energy, our customers can significantly cut their fuel costs and help reduce Britain’s carbon footprint. Solar-charged vehicles have real potential on our roads, and from the moment the panels are installed customers can begin to reap benefits.”