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Thread: Solar Panels

  1. #1

    Solar Panels

    I've seen solar panels that can be plugged into regular car cigarette lighters to recharge the battery.

    Anyone know what one of these would do to a Toyota Hybrid? Would the cigerette lighter plug in actually make it to charge the battery? If so, would this help or hurt the life of the battery?

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  3. #2

    Solar Panels

    Do the math on how much power you get out of the solar panel versus how much power is in the battery. It's pitifully insignificant. (We've discussed this here before somewhere...I'll see if I can find it.)

  4. #3

    Solar Panels

    Paul, I'm curious about the math on that. Just how much energy would be generated by a solar panel over the course of a year in terms of total fuel. Of course there are all different sizes/types solar panels. What would the range be? Thanks

  5. #4

    Solar Panels

    i have recently added solar panels to my home, $12,000 for 18 panels, a 3Kw system (sharp electric panels).

    i typically get 17 Kw-hr's of juice every day. that is about 2/3 of my typical monthly electric bill which equates to about $65 a month of savings. for my area that ends up as a 9 year payback after considering the typical 5% increase per year in electric bills. (which i expect to rise significantly in this same 9 years).

    now, what is this in gasoline? i don't know, but i know it's not one for one, dollar for dollar.

    $65 of electric is not $65 in gasoline.

    i suspect electric is more expensive, so possibly $60 electric equals $45 gasoline. (total guess). i know from using a natural gas pottery kiln that natural gas is about 5 times cheaper then electric for the same, similar size kilns. (actually my gas kilns are bigger then the electric).

    now, if that $45 per month charges my car, i could be driving every month for "free".

    ~ but the panels are some 20 feet by 14 feet in size. not practical to have on top of a car.

    however, a plug in hybrid to extend the battery power every night could be useful with solar at home.

    see ya

  6. #5

    Solar Panels

    I emailed Toyota on this very subject since I was able to find a solar panel which plugged into the cigarette lighter (and therefore of course would only be charging the 12 volt battery), but got no reply.

    Here's the potential problem that I see - at least for my 2005 Prius, the circuit to the cigarette lighter is open when the ignition is off - in other words, I don't think there would be any charge going through because it is disconnected from the battery. I tried my cell phone charger on the two 12 volt "cigarette lighter" holes in my Prius and neither worked with the car off (which is presumaly when you'd be wanting to gain the solar power - while sitting in at work while the sun shines on the car in the parking lot).

    Bottom line - won't work, at least I don't think so.

  7. #6

    Solar Panels

    OK, there are more options with this thread, wired panels, different types of solar capture and of course how much light is generated in your are. please check out my solar projects at www.mjpwebsales.com Most the info is for the home but these suppliers can custom fit to any size and shape of panels.

  8. #7

    Solar Panels

    There is at least one company making solar panels specifically for hybrid cars: Solatec LLC.

    They had a press release December 7, 2005 about their $2,195 kit, with they claim improves fuel economy by 10%.

    More info here: http://www.greencarcongress.com/2005...le_roofto.html

  9. #8

    Solar Panels

    Walter, as I said in September (above): "It's pitifully insignificant." The Solatec and GreenCar Congress websites to which you refer both state that the solar cell array shown puts out 30 watts, which equates to 0.04 horsepower (one horsepower = 747 watts).

    I'm sorry, but a good wash and wax job would have more effect on the vehicle's speed or range than adding 1/25th of a horsepower to a car.

  10. #9

    Solar Panels

    It seems to me the advantage is not in driving, but in charging the batteries when it sits and that energy then contributes to the overall gas mileage of the car, which, if as claimed, is up to 10%, is significant.

  11. #10

    Solar Panels

    Maybe I am missing something but 30watts of solar power seems insignificant for a hybrid. I look at it this way: If the car is parked in the sun for 5 hours, that is 5 x 30 = 150 watt-hours that can be stored in the hybrid battery. If you are really easy driving, you might use 10 horse power or about 7470 watts. The 150 watt-hours from the solar panel would be used up in about 1 minute. That doesn't seem like it is going to give a 10% improvement unless you are driving for a very short time.

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