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The PV to EV Link

February 7, 2013
Anne Ku - Maui Electric Vehicle Alliance , The Maui Weekly

If you plan your photovoltaic (PV) and electric vehicle (EV) investment right, your energy bill could fall as low as $18 per month.

One of the largest plug-in-electric vehicle (PEV) owner surveys (California, August 2012) found a 39 percent correlation between PV and EV ownership.

Salesmen at Jim Falk Motors Maui have noticed this close relationship in their electric vehicle customers as well.

Article Photos

The Electric Vehicle “Nissan LEAF”

An early adopter of a Nissan LEAF and a ZERO motorcycle on the West Side pays $18 to run his solar-powered house and his two 100 percent electric vehicles. He can "sell" his excess energy generated during the day to Maui Electric Company (MECO) and then buy energy back to charge his EVs or do the wash at night at a 30 percent reduced price due to the peak-off-peak price cost differential).

I've met other early adopters in Kihei, Kula, and Ha'iku who have followed the same secret recipe. Here's how it works:

1.Estimate the amount of photovoltaic energy needed and get PV system installed;

2.Get Net Energy Metering from MECO (or live off the grid and install sufficient energy storage);

3.Buy a plug-in electric vehicle;

4.Apply for federal and state tax credits for PV; federal tax credit of $7,500 for the vehicle; and obtain the state tax rebate of $4,500 for the vehicle and up to $500 towards a Level 2 charging station (220-240V installation with electric permit requirement).

And while the Hawai'i state EV rebates ran out in early May 2012 (just when Nissan LEAFs started to arrive at the local dealership), federal EV tax credits are still valid and immediately applicable if you get the lease deal, which could be as sweet as $2,999 down and $250 per month for two years for Maui residents.

For those early adopters who did not install PV or a Level 2 charging station at home, they could still charge on a standard three-prong 110-120V outlet. In fact, that's what the majority of EV owners do. They charge their EVs while they are asleep or while the cars have to be parked, such as at work or at school.

And when they do get out of their normal routine, they can charge their EVs at any one of the 20 public charging locations on Maui. If they are lucky to know an early adopter who has a PV-EV Level 2 Charging setup, they can charge their EV there and go snorkeling--like I did on my vacation on the West Side.

Watch Maui EVA TV online each Saturday and Sunday at 5 and 11 p.m. via "MCTV LIVE STREAM" on the University of Hawai'i Maui College (UHMC) home page at

Register for the first EV101 workshop on Maui scheduled for March 5 from 6 to 9 p.m. at UHMC.

Join us for an informal Maui EVA Talk Story dinner at Sansei in Kihei on Monday Feb. 4. Meet in line for the early bird discount at 4:30 p.m.

Anne Ku is the director of Maui Electric Vehicle Alliance (Maui EVA), the name of the project funded by a Department of Energy's Clean Cities planning grant, awarded to UH Maui College (lead), Department of Business Economic Development & Tourism (DBEDT), Honolulu Clean Cities, and UC San Diego. For more information, visit



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