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Can You Charge an EV With Solar Panels?

ev charging with solar panels

Can you charge an EV with solar panels? Absolutely! In fact, solar panels might arguably be one of the best options for homeowners with electric vehicles. They provide clean, abundant electricity to not only supercharge your hot ride, but also power your home.

Now, the decision to go solar is a big one. And there’s so many reasons to get solar panels. We could talk about your carbon footprint or that dent in your budget because of rising electricity prices. But this time around, let’s learn about why solar panels can be beneficial to the car you drive, too.

And hey, what’s all the hubbub about EVs anyway? We’re doing a deep dive on all things electric vehicles in this blog. Let’s hit the road!

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Why Do So Many People Want an Electric Car?

You might’ve noticed that nice Tesla speeding down the road, or maybe your neighbors just parked a cool Mustang Mach-E in front of their house. The International Energy Agency reports that by the end of 2021, there were a whopping 16.5 million EVs cruising through streets all over the globe. And EV sales have continued to outpace last year’s figures into 2022.

EV's charging at charging station on the street

4 Awesome Reasons Why Everyone Wants an EV

So, you’re probably seeing more electric vehicles and you may be wondering, “Why do more and more people want an electric car?” Well, there’s a lot of reasons actually. Here are our top reasons:

  1. Electric Vehicles have a lower lifetime of carbon emissions.

    No doubt you’ve heard about all the ways solar energy can reduce carbon emissions. While many homeowners decide to go solar and take advantage of local net metering programs and other solar incentives, they might still be wondering about their carbon footprint while on the road. EVs are a great addition for people who care about the environment and the impact of pollution.

    According to a study completed by The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), EVs produce less pollution than gas-powered vehicles. That goes for driving and manufacturing. You can use this calculator from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to see an estimate of how much greenhouse gas your EV will emit over its lifetime and compare it to the typical greenhouse gas emissions for gas-fueled cars in your area.

  2. Electric vehicles can actually drive electricity rates down.

    Yes, you read that right. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), electricity costs have been consistently climbing for the last twenty years. EV charging at home could increase your energy consumption and add to your monthly electric bill.

    In a recent study conducted by Synapse Energy Economics, it was found that many EV users who charge at home take advantage of the time-of-use billing rates. This means charging when the cost of electricity is at its cheapest. Synapse asserts that if more EVs are charged during off-peak times, they can “…impose minimal costs on the grid” and encourage utility investments that strengthen the charging infrastructure, which in turn brings down the cost.

  3. Electric vehicles are becoming a more affordable option.

    With gas prices up more than 58%, it makes sense why people are trying to get the most out of their budget and the topic of electric cars tends to come up as an alternative. Many people raise their eyebrows at the upfront cost of an electric vehicle, but it’s important to know the value of an EV’s lifetime cost.

    For starters, federal and local tax credits can lower the cost of an EV. Much like solar incentives, this is another perk that the government uses to make clean energy with lower carbon emissions more accessible. In 2020, Consumer Reports found that EV owners spent about 60% less on fuel compared to gas-powered vehicles. Overall, going electric with your transportation could be more affordable than you originally thought.

  4. You can charge an EV at home with solar panels.

    While charging an EV will probably cost less than filling up your tank with petroleum, cost still plays a super important role in the decision to go electric. The cost of charging your EV commercially depends completely on how much you drive, your EV’s miles to the kilowatt-hour (kWh), and local charging rates, which vary depending on the station. Check out the different charging rates by state. You could be paying as high as $0.79 per kWh in some places.

    Americans drive an average of about 14,200 miles annually. That’s close to 39 miles a day! The average electric car uses 34.6 kWh per 100 miles (kWh/100 mi). Every year, new advancements are being made to increase the mile range of electric vehicles with current models reaching 300 to 400 miles or farther.

    Most EV owners charge their vehicles at home. Take a look at your electricity bill for a glance at the cost you’re paying for electricity at home. Here’s a guide to help you understand. EV charging costs could be about $0.12 cents per kWh to charge at home with solar panels.

EV charging at home charging station

Can You Charge An EV with Solar Panels?

You can definitely charge an EV with solar panels. Solar brings an efficient source of clean electricity that will not only keep your home powered, but also, solar panels can charge your EV. Now, there are a few things to consider when designing your solar panel system.

You’ll want to factor in the extra energy you’ll need to charge your EV each year. Then you’ll have enough energy for both your home and your EV. Make sure to discuss this with a Solar Energy Specialist today to find out more!

How Many Solar Panels to Charge a Tesla?

It takes about 10 solar panels to charge a Tesla. Obviously, other factors come into play, such as model, energy consumption, panel efficiency, and the list goes on. You’ll need a way to figure out how much extra energy you’ll need.

The DOE has another great tool for comparing all the EVs currently on the market in the U.S. They will be rated on how many kWh it takes to drive for 100 miles (kWh/100 miles). Use this number to calculate how much extra energy you’ll need your solar panels to produce each year.

As mentioned above, an estimate on how many solar panels you need to produce enough energy will depend on the following:

  • The size of your solar panel system
  • The efficiency of your solar panels
  • The amount of energy your home already consumes
  • The kind of EV you have or are considering

Front end view of a white Tesla driving on a road

These variables only scratch the surface. For a more accurate estimate, consider chatting with a Solar Energy Specialist today.

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