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Who thinks solar panels integrated into the roof and hood are a good idea and is this something we might see in the future modles of the hybrids? I'm a newbie here and hope this isn't too dunb a question. Just put a $500 deposit on a 2006 silver, package C( if that's what will be called/offered in 2006) and I'm very excited to get behind the wheel!
 

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It's a good idea. The Audi A8L has a solar panel moonroof that allows the A/C and accessories to run while parked.

Edit: hehe. It's called the Navigation Package in 2005. Btw, keep us updated on Canadian details eh?
 

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A more practical use for solar panels would be to put them on a platform over the parking lots around office buildings and malls. This would be very convenient for those who park there because the shade would keep the cars under them cooler in the summer, and they would be protected from rain as they walk to/from their cars.

Depending on prevailing conditions and power costs, these could pay back their installation costs in 10 to 20 years. But that's too long for a car and you don't have the convenient grid to feed the power into. Adding batteries to hold the power tends to push the payback cost beyond the life of the panels. Plus it's very hard to get curved solar panel material.

Still, batteries improve every year, and we could get a solar panel materials breakthrough.
 

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Tideland Prius said:
It's a good idea. The Audi A8L has a solar panel moonroof that allows the A/C and accessories to run while parked. . .
Just a fan, not the A/C compressor.
 

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RSnyder said:
A more practical use for solar panels would be to put them on a platform over the parking lots around office buildings and malls. This would be very convenient for those who park there because the shade would keep the cars under them cooler in the summer, and they would be protected from rain as they walk to/from their cars.

Depending on prevailing conditions and power costs, these could pay back their installation costs in 10 to 20 years. But that's too long for a car and you don't have the convenient grid to feed the power into. Adding batteries to hold the power tends to push the payback cost beyond the life of the panels. Plus it's very hard to get curved solar panel material.

Still, batteries improve every year, and we could get a solar panel materials breakthrough.
That's a very good damn idea. How come no one implemented that before? Is it really that expensive?
 

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There was a recent (maybe 6 months ago) article about a fexible solar film that could be put on almost any surface - cars, cell phones, buildings. Still in development, but something to dream about.

For the most part, solar isn't cost effective - yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I bet gas prices will cause solar panels to be more in demand and as a result a price reduction. A roof panel would be a great addition!

Btw, a great documentary to check out in video stores now is "The End of Suburia" Very interesting with some interesting info from Cheney's energy chairman. A must see for anyone in this forum.
 

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RSnyder said:
A more practical use for solar panels would be to put them on a platform over the parking lots around office buildings and malls.
It's been done already.

Do a search for "Kyocera solar grove".

They had the unveiling in San Diego a month or two ago.
 

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RSnyder said:
A more practical use for solar panels would be to put them on a platform over the parking lots around office buildings and malls. This would be very convenient for those who park there because the shade would keep the cars under them cooler in the summer, and they would be protected from rain as they walk to/from their cars.
That's a good idea, but it would be far more practical to just feed the power back into the grid and use grid power somewhere else to charge your car's batteries. After all, the grid is always connected, and is always available at office buildings and malls. And efficiency is on the order of 90% with modern inverters.
 

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I am certainly no expert in these matters, but what I have been daydreaming about for, say a 2012 or 2015 or thereabouts Prius is a PHEV with a battery pack that will last for maybe 60-80 miles and can power the vehicle up to somewhere around 65 mph, a plug so you can plug it in to the grid at night and solar panels to top off the batteries while driving or while parked. If the car is parked and the interior exceeds a certain preset temperature, the A/C will be powered by the solar panels to cool down the interior. If the batteries are full and the interior does not need any cooling, the solar panels will become inactive and not charge anything. If while driving the batteries get depleted to a certain point, for example on a long distance trip on the highway, the car will work like a regular hybrid like the current Prius. Does this sound feasible or is this just wishful thinking?
 

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DanMan32 said:
Only 20 watts for 6 sq.ft, at $420? That isn't a whole lot of energy in the space/price for large wattage applications.
I agree :evil:
I'm expecting a price reduction (maybe in a near future :roll: )
 

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MrWell said:
DanMan32 said:
Only 20 watts for 6 sq.ft, at $420? That isn't a whole lot of energy in the space/price for large wattage applications.
I agree :evil:
I'm expecting a price reduction (maybe in a near future :roll: )
Yeah, that's the problem. I heard on NPR that Wal :evil: Mart has a couple of new stores experimenting with new cost saving tech. Solar and wind are two of the tests they are running. As much as I try to stay away from chains, imagine if they implemented solar to most of their stores. Anyone that could improve the panel 25% could sell 25,000 of them to Wal :evil: Mart almost instantly. Talk about innovation paying off.
 

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DanMan32 said:
Only 20 watts for 6 sq.ft, at $420? That isn't a whole lot of energy in the space/price for large wattage applications.
How can I acquire the electrical schematic of the 2005 Prius? how many amp, watts and at what voltage would the solar panel have to be converted to, isn't anything better than nothing. I will eventually put a solar panel on my 2005 Prius, but first I need to find out more about the electronics of the car in order to tap into to main batteries and not void the warranty. I assume that going into the 12v outlet (cigarette lighter) would not go to the main batteries.
 

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Fisher said:
DanMan32 said:
Only 20 watts for 6 sq.ft, at $420? That isn't a whole lot of energy in the space/price for large wattage applications.
How can I acquire the electrical schematic of the 2005 Prius? how many amp, watts and at what voltage would the solar panel have to be converted to, isn't anything better than nothing. I will eventually put a solar panel on my 2005 Prius, but first I need to find out more about the electronics of the car in order to tap into to main batteries and not void the warranty. I assume that going into the 12v outlet (cigarette lighter) would not go to the main batteries.
Nope. Going into the 12V outlet wouldn't make it into the traction battery. Unfortunately you can't go through the inverter either so you'd have to tap directly into the traction battery with a 250V DC panel. But you can get the repair manuals online or from your Toyota Dealer.
 

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There is certainly enough power from solar cells to make a big impact on mileage. You have to use good cells (eg 20% efficient Sunpower A300) and lots of them (eg roof and hood covered = ~5 m2 or about 10 kilos in weight), but that adds up to 4.5 free kilowatt-hours of electricity over the course of an average day if you park outside. In a Prius, that works out to about 20 miles per day free from the sunshine removed from your gas bill (> 6,000 miles per year).


A prototype PV Prius has already been built by a member of the Prius+ group (Steve Lapp of Lapp Renewables Ltd), and even with only 270 watts of cells (a very early development mule, 1,000 watts should be easily doable in future versions) the owner gets a 10% reduction in gas usage.

Several more years down the line, I think spray on solar cells could be the major cost-reducing enabler of this sort of thing.
 

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Solar Panels. Forget it.

The planetary gear system ( ie. transmission ) is an engineering marval.
In the Prius, the gas engine depends of a load to balance and transfer power between the gas engine and the electic motor. That load is the generator that changes the HV battery. If you add solar panels, the generator would no longer load the gear system by charging the HV battery. In turn the load would be shifted to the electric motor directly.

What would this do? The gas engine would power the generator, the generator would power the electric motor and your MPG would drop.

By storing the load in the HV battery, it can be "reused". If the battery is fully changed by sloar panels, the load is wasted to the electric motor.
 

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I was at a Sams Club the other day, they were selling a solar panel trickle charger for about $50. This could be wired to the aux battery to keep it topped off on those occaisions where the car sat for a couple weeks without being driven. You would probably need to wire it direct to the battery, or else do the Costal Dave mod to keep one of the 12V outlets live.

The trick would be securing it so it didn't change owners. If you put it in the hatch, I don't know if enough energy would get through the HSEA glass to make the solar array do any good.
 
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