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Friday, January 4, 2019

Driving A Tesla Model 3 To The Moon - 11 Years Of Solar Production

  • If you could drive a Model 3 to the Moon, how much energy would it take?
  • The Moon is ~238,900 miles away
  • In a dual motor Model 3, it would take 69,281 kWh to drive that far
  • We have generated 69,460 kWh from our solar PV systems
  • A brief history of our EV ownership and PV installations

Eleven years after the PV on our rooftop came to life, it has generated 69,460 kWh of energy.



The graph shows that we have not one, but two PV systems on our roof. Our first system was installed in late 2007. This is a 4 kW array and it has produced 41,398 kWh. Our second array was added in 2015. It is an 8 kW array and has produced 28,062 kWh.

Why Solar?

In 2007, we purchased our first EV, a Chevy S10e electric truck. With the aged NiMH batteries, it only had 40 miles of range, but it was great. It was my commuter and errand runner. It was nice to have a truck for Home Depot runs. Our first PV system was installed later that year so we could power our EV with homemade electrons.

In 2011, we traded the truck in for a Nissan Leaf with nearly twice the range. Now even more of our miles were electrically powered and we started taking short road trips in the Leaf.

In 2015 we added more PV, tripling the capacity of our system.

In 2016 we traded our remaining gas car in for a long-range Tesla Model X. We were now a 100% EV household.  With 2 EVs in our household, we are no longer buying gasoline and all of our transportation is "fueled" from the grid and our solar panels.

In 2018 we traded the Leaf in for a long-range Tesla Model 3. We are now a 100% Tesla family.

We have switched to Time-Of-Use electricity schedule. The solar panels reduce our daytime use and we charge the cars overnight at off-peak times. The off-peak rate here is only 4¢ per kWh. Electricity was already a cheap fuel, this makes it even more affordable.

Enough Energy To Drive To The Moon

The energy our PV systems have generated is enough to power our Tesla Model 3 for ~240,000 miles. Based on the EPA rating, this is enough to drive around the equator nine and a half times or, if you prefer, the distance to the Moon. This is also more than 1 light-second (appropriately powered by light).


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