3 Things You Should Know About Solar-Paneled Cars

solar paneled car is a concept that is becoming more and more popular. Driving a solar paneled car means that rather than charging your vehicle with a plug, like traditional hybrid vehicles, or using traditional gasoline, you simply park your car in the sun and let the solar panels absorb the rays—then you’re off driving! But there’s more to it than that. Here are three things you should know about solar paneled cars.

How the solar paneled car works

According to How Stuff Works, a solar paneled car works through the photovoltaic cells that are present in the panels, which are responsible for converting the sun’s energy into actual usable electricity. The process that converts the energy into electricity is somewhat complex and there are few manufacturers that have even attempted to integrate this type of technology into their car manufacturing efforts.

Keep in mind that in order for a solar panel vehicle to receive electricity, it must have direct exposure to the sun. This means that if your vehicle is typically kept inside your garage, or beneath a carport, a solar paneled car is probably not a practical option. However, for others who live in particularly sunny areas and park their vehicles outside, a solar paneled vehicle may be the solution to saving on energy and fossil fuel costs.

Solar paneled cars may create green energy jobs

With energy requirements continuously increasing all over the world, more companies and individuals are searching for better sources of renewable energy, such as solar power. In fact, this infographic from RefrigerationSchool.com shows that solar energy is now the quickest-growing segment in the entire green energy market in the U.S. It is estimated that in 2013 the job market in the solar industry more than doubled and that it is going to sustain a growth of 20 percent in the next few years.

With more and more companies and individuals seeking clean, green sources of energy, the demand for solar panels is increasing. This demand has resulted in the consistent growth of the industry, leading to more jobs in the sector. Economic growth and job creation are two hot-button issues right now, so the ability to produce more energy and jobs in a sustainable way is a win for all parties involved.

The present and future of solar paneled cars

People are using solar panels already installed on their roofs to electrically power their hybrid cars. Unlike cars with solar panels built in, you simply plug in your hybrid to your existing solar panels and you’re automatically using the sun to power your car, writes Poughkeepsie Journal. And it gets better: The United States government also offers a federal tax credit for purchasing these hybrid car models. In addition, some car companies, such as Honda Motor Co., offer incentives of up to $400 for installing solar panels through the company Solar City. And when you get a friend or family member to sign up for solar panel installation through Solar City, you get a $250 referral fee on top of that!

And then there’s Mercedes Benz who, according to Engadget, has come up with a really interesting and unique concept to generate electricity from the sun: a solar powered paint job. Referred to as “multi-voltaic” paint, this technologically advanced paint job works by acting like a giant solar panel that generates electricity while the car is stationary. And, while the car is moving, it derives power from its suspension system. However, this is only in the conceptual stage, and is therefore not yet available.

Solar paneled cars are still new, How Stuff Works tells us, which means there are a number of issues and kinks to work out in order to get them to where they are a sustainable method of transportation, including making them affordable. However, with the proven progression in the industry, it may be only a matter of time until a reliable and efficient solar paneled car is developed for mainstream use in the automotive industry.

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