2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt front 3/4 view

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt rear 3/4 view

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt side view

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt front view

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt rear view

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt front detail

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt headlight

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt grille

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt side detail

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt wheel

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt wheel detail

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt side mirror

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt badge

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt badge

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt taillight

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt logo

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt engine

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt engine

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt engine

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt engine detail

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt engine detail

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt interior

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt interior

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt interior

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt steering wheel

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt front seats

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt steering wheel controls

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt steering wheel controls

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt gauges

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt gauges

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt instrument panel

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt energy info

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt power flow

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt charging info

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt energy info

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt multimedia controls

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt shifter

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt shifter

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt power button

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt drive mode button

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt door panel

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt rear seats

  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2011 Chevrolet Volt rear cargo area



This story should be enough to – at the very least – give Chevrolet Volt detractors pause: a solar-powered home that pays its owner delicious double dividends.

An Orlando, FL man used the cash from selling solar-panel-generated electricity back to the grid as a down payment for his Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in vehicle and he's using the power from the panels to fuel the sedan, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Bob Stonerock used the $5,600 he made during the past two years selling power generated from his roof and backyard solar panels back to the Orlando Utilities Commission as a down payment for his $46,000 Volt. Stonerock, a retired doctor, estimates that he will be able to fuel the car almost exclusively from the electricity from the solar panels that power his vehicle-recharging station.

Stonerock is one of the more than 15,000 Americans who will attempt to replace at least most of their gasoline use with electricity by purchasing vehicles such as either the Volt or battery-electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i. Through the first eleven months of the year, General Motors sold just over 6,100 Volts – compared to about 8,700 Nissan Leafs – though both vehicles were constrained by limited supply for at least some of the year.

The Chevy Volt can go about 35 miles on electric power alone before a gas-powered on-board generator kicks in to provide an additional 340 miles or so on a full tank. In November, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy named the Volt the fourth-most fuel-efficient vehicle sold in the United States. The federal agencies' latest edition of their Fuel Economy Guide rates the Volt at 60 miles per gallon of gasoline equivalent, which trailed only the Mitsubishi i, Nissan Leaf and Ford Transit Connect Electric battery-electric vehicles.



I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 69 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      I power my Volt completely with solar power too. I live off the grid. I added 9 panels to power my Volt. Cost - $5k. I would have spent that in 2 years on gas!
      Ford Future
      • 3 Years Ago
      We may need the Feds to regulate out of the market low efficiency panels coming on the market, as part of the federal tax credit program.
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ford Future
        ? Ford got voted down, but at the very least, I would see now issue with a graduated credit. When I bought my 18 seer (no, I don't know how to spell that) I got the highest efficiency rating because I got the highest rebate back. Damn thing is a 3 speed heat pump, with a HAL 9000 thermostat that changes the temperature to be most efficient. And I can tweak my liberal friends that I have the most efficient system... :D Anyway, Ford is reasonable and shouldn't be voted down. So there.
      Peder Norby
      • 3 Years Ago
      At the heart of this story is a decision by a man to go solar for many reasons. A wealthy man to be sure, but it is possible in many areas to go solar for no money down and lower your existing utility bill. Solar is now emerging a s a choice not just for the well off, but also for those on tighter budgets who are concerned like this doctor, about domestic energy policy (solar PV replacing gasoline) and very unhealthy emissions in our larger cities. Just one example of that concept here, four common scenarios, http://www.stellarsolar.net/sunpower-solar-lease.html Cheers Peder
        DarylMc
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Peder Norby
        Well it's 2.00am 1/1/2012 here in Australia. Happy New Year to all. Thanks for continuing to post those links Peder. I don't believe we have any deals quite so attractive here but you have certainly inspired me to look harder.
          Peder Norby
          • 3 Years Ago
          @DarylMc
          Happy New Year to you DarylMc and all the the other EV Australians! I hope Solar PV catches on there as it has in California. Just in San Diego (3.1 million) we now have over14,000 residential solar PV installations and it's growing exponentially. Austailia is well positioned to take advantage of her abundant sunshine. I have visit Austrailia on four occasions and greatly admire the pioneer can do spirt of the Austrailians. Happy New Year!
          Marco Polo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @DarylMc
          @Pedar, Thank you Pedar, and happy new year to you, Darryl Mac and everyone.
      Dave
      • 3 Years Ago
      Best case scenario: Assume that "hundreds of thousands of dollars" = $300,000 A 30 year loan at 5% interest (and assuming there is zero property tax) is $1,610.46 per month. The system is paying Bob $5,600/24 + whatever his own electric bill is. Lets assume his electric bill is $500/mo since he is a wealthy doctor blasting his a/c in Florida. Thats $733 per month he gets from the system while spending $1,600/mo to buy the system. It will never pay for itself. And the components were probably built in China using power generated by coal, then shipped to the USA by a steamship burning bunker fuel. And then shipped cross country from California in a diesel powered 18-wheeler. And the installation was assembled by a bunch of guys driving diesel powered dump trucks, backhoes, and F250s. So it will never save as much CO2 and pollution as it has already cost. "Bob Stonerock has hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of solar-panel equipment, which generates far more electricity than his home needs. He has earned $5,600 during the past two years by selling the surplus power to Orlando Utilities Commission."
        Ford Future
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dave
        This just proves you need to know 1 the size of the system, before calculating cost. We don't know his system cost him $300,000. Secondly, how efficient are the panels he bought. Next year 41% efficiency panels will be on the market. Then we can expect Dave to do another calculation?
          Dave
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ford Future
          If the panels were more efficient, he wouldnt have needed "hundreds of thousands of dollars worth" It would be awesome if solar panels made financial and environmental sense. But they dont. Not yet.
        DarylMc
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dave
        I looked at this story quite hard too. Yes the headline seems misleading and the author seems to be trolling, but there are worse things to spend money on than solar panels and the Volt. If the doctor was driving around in a Bugatti Veyron or a private jet, would people (including myself) be critical? I think generally no they wouldn't but it's going to be quite a thing for some people to get their head around.
          Dave
          • 3 Years Ago
          @DarylMc
          "If the doctor was driving around in a Bugatti Veyron or a private jet, would people (including myself) be critical?" I'm not criticizing the doctor. He worked hard to earn his money and he can do with it as he pleases. If the doctor wants to encourage solar panel manufacturing in hopes that one day it will become sustainable, that is wonderful. I do have a problem with this blog post. Omitting key information from the source article, and implying that current solar panel technology is sustainable is irresponsible.
          DarylMc
          • 3 Years Ago
          @DarylMc
          Instead of throwing money at what people might normally consider to be of value the doctor has put it into solar panels. As people have mentioned, there is no dollar payback on a Ferrari. That does make his efforts very admirable and a real shift in the way people think if it catches on.
          DarylMc
          • 3 Years Ago
          @DarylMc
          Hi Dave I wasnt saying you were being critical but I know I was and it had more to do with the misleading title of this blog post than anything else. You were right to point it out.
        Tysto
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dave
        Ferraris and yachts never pay for themselves either. People need to get it out of their heads that clean energy needs to be just as cheap as dirty energy to be worth the bother. And your argument about all the dirty power used to make and deliver the panels has been soundly debunked. http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy04osti/35489.pdf
        Dave D
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dave
        Geez Dave, do you have to be so negative on EVERYTHING that is not H2? Seriously, look at the assumptions you make on something like this and compare it to the positive assumptions you make when you do an H2 scenario. Why would you assume $300,000 rather than $200,000...since you're just making assumptions anyway? Why would you assume 5% interest when there are plenty of lower interest rates available for clean energy items at the local and state level in most places. Look at this paragraph: "And the components were probably built in China using power generated by coal, then shipped to the USA by a steamship burning bunker fuel. And then shipped cross country from California in a diesel powered 18-wheeler. And the installation was assembled by a bunch of guys driving diesel powered dump trucks, backhoes, and F250s." I'm going to save this and the next time you do one of your calculations to tell us all why H2 is so wonderful I'm going to bring this out and ask you to make the same set of negative assumptions and re-do your calculations. Man, what a kill joy. This guy spent his own money to do something that would be cleaner and reduce our dependence on oil and look at what your post is all about.
          Dave
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dave D
          The numbers speak for themselves. There's a good reason why solar R+D continues and solar panels havent taken the world by storm yet. And theres a good reason why fuel cell vehicles are in the development stage as well. Same situation. Exactly the same situation.
        Ford Future
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dave
        He's also saving at least $2000 a year on No-Gas.
          Dave
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ford Future
          In fact, 35 miles x 365 miles range means 12,775 miles at best. Which, even at $4 per gallon, would not save $2,000 worth of gas compared to a Cruze or other comparable vehicle.
          Tysto
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ford Future
          Jeez, Dave. 20 MPG is the real-world mileage average for cars and SUVs in the US, particularly for the kind of cars favored by other Americans of his social status: Mercedes E-class, Lexus RX 350, BMW 5 Series and 3 Series. http://www.forbes.com/sites/joannmuller/2011/12/30/what-the-rich-people-really-drive/ 35 mile range X 350 days a year of driving = 12,250 miles of pure electric driving 12,250 / 20 MPG x $3.50 = $2143
          Dave
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ford Future
          "He's also saving at least $2000 a year on No-Gas." "AT LEAST"?????? Why do you insist on fabricating information? You've done no calculations and have no facts to back up what you say. 12,000 miles / 30 mpg x 3.50 = $1,400 And that is not in addition to the calculations. The electricity he uses in his Volt will be deducted from the electricity he sells back to the utility. The $5,600 he made selling electricity was prior to buying the Volt.
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dave
        You don't have sufficient information to judge the system, so you just make up a bunch of numbers to justify your pre-determined answer. Wow that was pathetic.
        shinichi
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dave
        And do not forget the fact, that it is impossible to build heavier than air flying machines.
      • 1 Year Ago
      http://www.hybridcars.com/jason-king-says-hell-soon-be-driving-his-volt-free-45444/
      garylai
      • 3 Years Ago
      I am also getting a large solar system installed in my house in January that will pay for itself with federal and Washington State government incentives. Here are the detailed numbers - the system will be a 4 kw solar array that is expected to produce 5,000 kwh per year in energy (enough to drive my Nissan Leaf 20,000 miles). The total cost I am paying is $30,000. This is pretty high for a 4 kw system because it is made using Washington State solar panels and inverters rather than China-made hardware which provide a higher incentive payment (more on that later). There is a 30% federal tax credit that will bring the cost down to about $20,000. A solar project of this type qualifies for a green energy low interest loan of 5% with a 10 year term. The monthly payment for a $20,000 10-year loan at 5% interest is $212 a month. Now, the State of Washington will pay me $0.54 per kwh I produce for a system that uses Washington state made solar panels and inverters. Plus, the cost of electricity in Seattle is about $0.10 per kwh which will be offset. So I will make/save $0.64 per kwh my panels produce, which is $3,200 per year since my system will make 5,000 kwh per year. That works out to an average of $266 a month, which more than covers the monthly loan payment and actually leaves money in my pocket. After 10 years, the loan will be paid off and the incentive program also ends after 10 years. I will then have a solar electric system that is fully paid off and will still be providing me 5,000 kwh of free electricity per year for a long time (the system is warrantied to last 30 years). Plus, since all the equipment comes from Washington state, it is making local jobs. This may be news in Orlando, but here in not so sunny Seattle we have many people with solar systems that own electric cars.
        Ziv
        • 3 Years Ago
        @garylai
        Gary, I had neighbors that installed a solar array in 1979 or so, and when I went back in '87 or '88 they said it wasn't producing as much electricity as it had before. They took it down a few years later. Do newer panels last longer? This was in northern Montana so our horrendously cold winters might not have helped. But the fact that they were nearer vertical than arrays further south might have actually helped keep them clean, but this is something I know very little about. I guess my question is, how many 15 year old systems are out there still producing and are they still at the same output levels as they were when they were installed?
          garylai
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ziv
          Ziv - From what I understand, they do degrade over time, but gradually. Most warranties nowadays are for 90% rated power after 10 years and 80% rated power after 25 years. I think they have been improving. Of course, the warranty is only good if the manufacturer is around when they need warranty. So I am not immune from financial risk here, but it is one I am willing to take.
        Whis Ky
        • 3 Years Ago
        @garylai
        That is awesome. I am kind of shocked you can get that kind of electric production up in Washington though.
        fairfireman21
        • 3 Years Ago
        @garylai
        So the sun is always shineing in Washington. Yea the panels can produce that much but if the weather turns will it per year? My truck can get 21mpg on the highway but if the wind is blowing will it? Yea wind turbines can produce power but what it the wind is not blowing?
        Smith Jim
        • 3 Years Ago
        @garylai
        I wanted to give you +1,000,0000 but I could only give you a +1. I wish I lived in a progressive state where the majority of people cared about sustainability. Hell, I'd settle for a state where the majority of people could spell sustainability.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I did almost the same thing and attached my article published last month about it. below.. http://gm-volt.com/2011/11/04/2012-volt-drives-family-off-oil-and-saves-30000/ MrEnergyCzar
      fairfireman21
      • 3 Years Ago
      Is what they are not telling us is heprobably spent $60,000-$80,000 on his panels. I checked out panels a couple years ago to power my house and $40,000 (only the panels no batteries) was not good "AT ALL", when I could do the same with wind for only $6,000. I figured if I could do it cheaper with a better source then why not. Plus I did not have to buy converters because wind is AC not DC.
      fairfireman21
      • 3 Years Ago
      Is what they are not telling us is heprobably spent $60,000-$80,000 on his panels. I checked out panels a couple years ago to power my house and $40,000 (only the panels no batteries) was not good "AT ALL", when I could do the same with wind for only $6,000. I figured if I could do it cheaper with a better source then why not. Plus I did not have to buy converters because wind is AC not DC.
      Ashton
      • 3 Years Ago
      well, this guy's a doctor...so I'm sure he's loaded. I on the other hand, don't plan on buying solar panels for my house until price per watt is cheaper then my current (coal) power.
        j
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ashton
        Solar panels have come down enough in price recently to actually return dollars on your investment. In some parts of the country you can pay back the higher cost of an EV and pay for solar panels, financed with little or no down payment, in as little as 6 years. At a monthly cost that's less than you pay now - for coal. For the next 19 years no gas payments and no home electricity costs until the warranty runs out on the panels. The payments you make currently (for coal) are expenses only, and as such pay you back nothing, for not investing in solar.
          Tweaker
          • 3 Years Ago
          @j
          And the panels should still be working 19 years from now. I have some from the mid 80's still pumping power. As for cost, solar IS now approaching coal prices.
      Julius
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's too bad that this can't be replicated everywhere - living on the "North Coast" of America, the evenings are much too long (and the snow much too predictable) to provide enough for solar alone to work. Good news is there's plenty of wind to go with the snow...
      EZEE
      • 3 Years Ago
      I live in Orlando...and on a golf course even. I need to track this guy down and look at his system.
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        By what I understand, Florida has a pretty generous solar incentive. At current panel prices, you are crazy if you don't at least look into solar systems. The installation costs are the only difficult part these days. The cost of the raw panels themselves is really cheap.
        Marco Polo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        @Ezee I knew it! It's you! I thought I recognised Bill Murray's Nemesis!
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        @marco Sitting I a restaurant, staring at my iPad for a moment before I got it, the. Happy it is a loud sports bar because I screamed a little. @spec Maybe I do! One of my clients is a solar panel company. Can't hurt to ask them. I enjoy tweaking enviro types with my ULEV flex fuel Ranger - imagine how much fun it would be with solar panels on my roof! They would hate me.... I know I know...all the wrong reasons, but always said I was an EVIL right winger! :)
    • Load More Comments