Have you been thinking about where you’ll charge your electric car?

Millions of people are making the switch to electric, and we’re here to help make the process as easy as possible for you. With our solar panels, you can easily power your electric car right from your own home.

In one year, only one electric vehicle on the road can save 1.5 million grams of CO2, according to myclimate.org.

Imagine never having to worry about finding a charging station ever again?

Charging Your Electric Car With Solar Energy

As soon as you purchase an electric vehicle (EV) you automatically join the “reduce your carbon footprint” club. EVs have a much smaller carbon footprint than gasoline cars. Then, installing a domestic Solar PV system means you can offset the emissions from running your EV almost entirely. In fact, if you have a long daily commute you could even go ‘carbon negative’.

Most solar panels you’ll find today produce between 250 and 400 watts per hour. Domestic systems usually have 1 and 4 kilowatts of power.

The battery in the Tesla Model 3 Standard Range has a capacity of 50 kWh. The usable capacity is 40 kWh, according to the manufacturer (estimate). So, a typical solar PV system can offset the emissions from driving an electric car about 1,000 to 4,000 miles per year.

Related: How Much Does It Cost To Charge A Tesla?

How Does Solar Panel Charging Work?

Now to be clear, you can’t charge your car directly from solar panels. The panels produce DC (direct current) electricity and your car requires AC (alternating current).

A solar PV system will include an inverter that transforms the DC electricity generated by the panels into AC.You will then need a battery storage system to store the AC electricity from the inverter (more on this later).

The final piece of equipment you’ll need is a Level 2 EV charger. This will plug into your home’s electrical system and charge your car batteries using the AC power from the solar PV system.

A typical solar PV system for charging an electric car will cost between $5,000 and $10,000. The level 2 EV charger will add another $500 to $1,000 to the cost.

The vast majority of people that charge their electric cars at home to choose to do so overnight. So, you’ll likely only need to draw a small amount of power from the grid to top off your batteries during the day.

If you have a long daily commute, you may need to supplement your solar PV system with power from the grid during the daytime. But, you can offset the emissions from this by buying green power from your utility company or installing additional solar panels.

Related: Do Solar Panels Work Through Glass? (MAYBE?)

The Pros and Cons of Using Solar to Charge Your EV

There are a series of pros and cons to using solar energy to charge your electric vehicle.

Let’s take a look at the advantages first:

The pros of changing your EV with solar

  • Free energy.
  • Cost savings.
  • Reduced emissions.
  • Flexibility when charging.
  • Increased property value.

Free energy

In essence, solar energy is free. Once you’ve installed the solar PV system and EV charger, there are no running costs. The only maintenance you’ll need to do is to keep the panels clean and ensure there is nothing shading them.

Related: Is Solar Energy Renewable Or Non-renewable?

Cost savings

Although there is an initial investment to install a solar PV system, you will save money on your electricity bills in the long run. In many cases, the savings will offset the cost of the system within 5 to 10 years.

You may also be eligible for financial incentives, like tax credits or rebates, which can reduce the upfront cost of installing a solar PV system.

Reduced emissions

Electric cars produce zero emissions, so charging them with solar energy means your emissions are reduced even further. In fact, if you have a long daily commute you could even go ‘carbon negative’.

Solar PV systems have a much smaller carbon footprint than traditional fossil fuel power plants. So, by charging your EV with solar you’re significantly reducing your carbon footprint.

Flexibility when charging

You have the ability to either charge your car from the grid or from your solar PV system, depending on your needs. This gives you the flexibility to charge your car whenever it’s convenient for you.

If you have a long daily commute, you may need to supplement your solar PV system with power from the grid during the daytime.

Increased property value

You may not realise it now, since EVs aren’t mainstream yet, but installing a solar PV system and EV charger could increase the value of your home.

As electric cars become more popular, people will be willing to pay more for a home that already has the infrastructure in place to charge their car.

As EVs become more popular, home buyers will seek out homes that have solar PV systems and EV chargers already installed.

Now let’s take a look at the disadvantages of using solar to charge your electric vehicle:

The cons of changing your EV with solar

  • Initial costs are high
  • Reliability issues

Initial costs are high

When you purchase a gas car, there’s no need to build your own gas station. But, when you own an electric car, you need to install your own EV charger and solar PV system.

The initial cost of doing this can be prohibitive for some people. However, the cost of solar PV systems and EV chargers has been falling rapidly in recent years and is expected to continue to do so.

Reliability issues

Solar PV systems are becoming more and more reliable, but they’re not perfect. Solar panels can be damaged by hail or high winds, for example.

In addition, solar PV systems only produce electricity when the sun is shining. So, if you have a long daily commute, you may need to supplement your solar PV system with power from the grid during the daytime.

What Size Solar Panel Array Do I Need To Charge My Electric Car?

A solar panel system with around 10 solar panels will typically provide enough electricity to run an electric vehicle for a cross-country trip. In the United States, solar panel systems typically average 6 kilowatts (kW), which can produce enough electricity to power a car for 10,000 miles annually.

If you’re only using your solar PV system to charge your car, a smaller system will suffice. For example, a 2 kW system will generate enough electricity to charge an electric car for a round trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

Solar Compatible Ev Chargers

Myenergi Zappi

Zappi is a British company that has been producing solar products for decades. Zappi’s eco mode, which may be switched on to power gadgets from solar PV or wind systems as well as draw electricity form the mains supply if required, is ideal for environmentally aware customers.

The Eco+ mode not only helps you save money by only charging your car when solar or wind power is available, but it also helps the planet.

Finally, the Zappi’s Fast Mode allows you to charge your car from mains power as a regular electric car charger would.

Zappi charger price

The price of the Zappi charger will vary depending on the power output you need. A 7 kW charger will cost around £780 or $900.

Solaredge 2 In 1 Ev Charger Inverter

SolarEdge’s revolutionary new EV charging single-phase inverter allows homeowners to charge their electric vehicles directly from the sun’s energy. You get an inverter for your PV System, as well as an EV Charger all-in-one device with the SolarEdge 2 in 1. This technology reduces installation time and costs.

Charging Electric Car With Portable Solar Panels

A portable solar panel can charge an electric car. The average solar panel today produces enough energy to power a car’s battery.

The portable solar panel can produce electricity while you’re charging your home batteries to use appliances. You only need an array of ten solar panels to generate a sufficient charge for the batteries.

How Long Would It Take To Charge An Electric Car With A Solar Panel?

The stats on this will vary depending on the size of your solar panel array and the battery in your car. A rough estimate is that it would take between 4 and 8 hours to charge an electric car with a solar panel.

This process could be cut down to 2 hours if you had a larger solar panel system or if you installed a Level 2 EV charger, which charges the car much faster than a Level 1 charger.

What Comes with an EV Charger?

An EV charger kit is a device that you plug into an outlet in your home in order to charge your electric car. Most EV chargers come with a cord that you can plug into any standard 120-volt outlet, as well as an adapter for a 240-volt outlet.

Some EV chargers also come with features like timers and display screens that show you how much electricity is being added to your car’s battery.

Key Takeaways

  • Installing a solar PV system and EV charger can be expensive, but the cost is falling rapidly.
  • Solar PV systems are becoming more reliable, but they’re not perfect.
  • A solar panel system with around 10 solar panels will typically provide enough electricity to run an electric vehicle for a cross-country trip.
  • You can charge an electric car with a portable solar panel. The stats on this will vary depending on the size of your solar panel array and the battery in your car. A rough estimate is that it would take between 4 and 8 hours to charge an electric car with a solar panel.
  • Portable solar panels are becoming increasingly popular as people become more eco-conscious.
  • Solar panels can supplement your power needs and help you save money on your electric bill.
  • If you’re only using your solar PV system to charge your car, a smaller system will suffice.

FAQs

Why don’t they put solar panels on electric cars?

The number of solar panels needed to charge an electric car would be prohibitively expensive and would add too much weight to the car, reducing its range. There is also not enough surface area on an electric car to put the solar panels.

How do I know if my car is compatible with a solar charger?

Check with the manufacturer of your car or the solar charger. Some solar chargers have a list of compatible cars on their websites.

What are the benefits of charging my car with solar panels?

Solar-charged cars are cheaper to operate and maintain than gas-powered cars. They emit no pollutants and have a smaller carbon footprint. Solar panels can also supplement your power needs and help you save money on your electric bill.

Are there any drawbacks to charging my car with solar panels?

The initial cost of installing a solar PV system and EV charger can be expensive. Solar PV systems are also becoming more reliable, but they’re not perfect. A solar panel system with around 10 solar panels will typically provide enough electricity to run an electric vehicle for a cross-country trip.

What happens with surplus energy?

If you have a solar PV system and an EV charger, any surplus energy can go back into the grid. You may be able to get paid for this, depending on your utility company’s policies. You also have the option of storing the surplus energy in batteries for use at night or during a power outage.

Where are charging points installed?

Charging points can be installed at home, garage, at work, or in public spaces. There are also portable chargers that can be used to charge an electric car.

About the Author

Passionate about helping households transition to sustainable energy with helpful information and resources.

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