Solar PV and EVs can offer the most cost effective solution for vehicle owners to reduce greenhouse gas emissions given current vehicle and solar incentives available in Connecticut. With existing incentives, EVs charged with solar PV is the most affordable choice for drivers in the state. Without any vehicle incentives and with Connecticut’s solar incentives, EVs can still have lower abatement costs than the social cost of carbon .
A Solar-EV Purchase Program could help address three key barriers to EV adoption:
- Higher upfront cost: EVs often cost more upfront than comparable gasoline vehicles, but they can have a lower total cost of ownership. Consumers often have difficulty internalizing a vehicle’s lifetime cost at vehicle purchase time.
- Environmental and energy security benefits: EVs can have significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to gasoline vehicles on a lifecycle basis in Connecticut, especially when the vehicles are recharged with renewable energy.
- Information access: EVs are a transformative technology resulting in a different purchase and ownership experience from gasoline vehicles, requiring significantly more time to complete a vehicle purchase.
Make EVs more accessible and affordable to consumers
EVs must overcome market externalities, including consumers’ dampened value of fuel savings and a missing market signal for greenhouse gases and other pollutants. And like other clean technologies, business model and financial innovation combined with creative approaches to consumer engagement and marketing could play a vital role in enabling EVs to reach mainstream car buyers.
A Solar-EV Purchase Program could help overcome the key barriers of higher upfront costs of EV purchases, environmental and energy security benefits, and information access by:
- Marrying solar PV and EV technologies in a way that leverages experience from solar vendors and the unique relationship they have with their customers to overcome EV deployment barriers (see Box 1);
- Improving the EV purchase process for consumers through aggregation and other means with the aim of attaining more attractive and sustainable terms from automakers and auto dealers; and
- Lowering fuel costs and reducing emissions using clean renewable energy sources.
Expanding the EV market in Connecticut
Greater EV adoption in Connecticut offers economic and environmental benefits at the local and state level. EV deployment is the most promising way to reduce emissions from the transportation sector in Connecticut . Programs that target both solar PV and EVs can help lower greenhouse gases from the two largest sectors in Connecticut simultaneously.
When considering current federal and state policies, EVs offer lifetime cost savings over gasoline vehicles resulting in more discretionary funds for drivers and potentially increased consumer spending. When paired with solar, EVs can be the most affordable choice for Connecticut drivers. In addition, Connecticut has extensive local electricity generation capacity, which increases the likelihood that funds spent fueling with electricity will remain in the state’s economy .
A Solar-EV Purchase Program can complement existing programs in Connecticut aimed at encouraging EV and renewable energy deployment, including the CHEAPR EV rebate program, the Zero Emission Vehicle program, and the Connecticut Solar Lease program. A critical consideration in the design and execution of these programs is that carbon or other credits are only counted once.
 A key requirement for any carbon credit program is that they must be unambiguously owned, meaning the rights to the credits should be clearly based on domestic and international law and emission reductions must not be double counted.