Just imagine pushing the accelerator on the latest sleek EV, feeling it take off quicker than your old gas guzzler ever did, and knowing that the energy you’re sending to your motor was generated on your home’s roof and comes from the sun.

Zoom, Zoom, indeed!

Can you charge an EV with solar panels? Absolutely! In fact, solar panels may be one of the best options for homeowners with electric vehicles. They supply 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 are 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 the perfect fit for you and the car you drive.

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!

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 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

3 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 are a lot of 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 to help the environment, they might still be wondering about their carbon footprint while on the road. EVs are a great solution 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.

But a recent study conducted by Synapse Energy Economics 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.

One challenge for utility companies is evening out the supply and demand of power. Everybody wants to use electricity at six pm when they get home from work, but demand goes way down overnight. The challenge is that utilities can’t just shut down their generators—it takes too long to start and stop them. So, there’s often extra energy on the grid at night. Sometimes, utilities have to pay other providers to take the electricity from them—this is known as negative power prices. Obviously, your electricity company would rather send that electricity to you and charge you for it.

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 choice

With gas prices up 18% in the last year, it makes sense that people are trying to get the most out of their auto budget. Electric cars can be a great alternative. Many people raise their eyebrows at the upfront cost of an electric vehicle, but it’s important to know the overall cost of ownership.

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.

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 depends on how much you drive, how much you pay for electricity and your EV’s efficiency.

Everyone is different, but let’s look at a typical driver.

Americans drive an average of 39 miles a day, or about 14,200 miles annually. The average electric car uses 34.6 kWh per 100 miles. So, that average driver will need about 4,913 kWh for the year. Most EV owners charge their vehicles at home, and the average residential cost of a kWh from the electric company is $0.1546. That means, the average driver will spend close to $760 per year charging their EV. If your electric company charges less for off-peak charging, you can pay much less for plugging in overnight.

That is probably less than what you’d pay for gasoline, but what if you charged your car with solar energy instead?

EV charging at home charging station

Can you charge an EV with solar panels?

Yes, you can definitely charge an EV with solar panels!

Solar is an abundant source of clean electricity for your home and solar panels can also charge your EV. Just remember, when you are designing your solar panel system, you’ll want to consider the additional energy you’ll need to charge your EV. There are many factors that affect how much electricity each solar panel produces including panel efficiency, peak-sun hours on your home, car model and even which direction your roof points.

But we know what your real question is. How many solar panels does it take to charge a Tesla? As we said, it depends on lots of things, but a rule-of-thumb guess is that it takes about 10 solar panels to charge a Tesla.

Of course, you might want something else. There’s new EVs being introduced into the market all the time, and some are more efficient than others. The DOE has a great tool for comparing all the EVs currently on the market in the U.S.

Front end view of a white Tesla driving on a road

Powering your vehicle with solar energy is a great choice for the environment and it might save you money in the long run. Make sure to discuss your options with a Solar Energy Specialist today to find out more!

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

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