We’ve all heard about the potential for symbiotic relationships between electric cars and solar energy. It makes sense. Solar panels covert light energy to electrical energy and, if not connected to the electricity grid, that electrical energy needs to be stored. Why not store it in the battery of an electric car?

Taken to the far end of what might be possible perhaps one day the problem of solar energy storage can be solved via a nationwide fleet of electric cars plugged into the grid. When there is excess power, the batteries can charge and when power is needed, it can then be taken back from the batteries.

Maybe such a system will never be implemented but at least this relationship is starting to be explored. Solar power systems are now being used to charge electric cars right here in Canada. Check it out at:

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/skyfire-energy-solar-powers-albertas-first-net-zero-energy-car-2011-11-14

-Erik Janssen

(Engineering Physics, MASc, Year 2 at McMaster University)

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