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Solar Energy And Electric Vehicles: Your Questions Answered

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Solar Energy And Electric Vehicles: Your Questions Answered

Getting an electric vehicle? Considering solar? Or perhaps you drive an EV but haven’t installed solar yet, or vice versa. No matter where you are in upgrading your life with green energy solutions, we’re here to answer your questions. Here’s what you need to know about the perfect pairing of solar and EV.

Can I use solar to charge my EV?

Yes. Not only can solar energy charge your entire home, it can also power the battery of your electric vehicle.

What solar equipment do I need to charge my EV?

Most whole-home energy solutions companies set you up with everything you need, but here’s a quick checklist:

  • Solar panels
  • String inverter or micro inverters; both convert the direct current (DC) output of solar to alternating current (AC), but a string inverter is a standalone box installed by the main service panel while micro inverters are installed under each solar panel
  • Level 2 EV charger or EV-charging solar inverter

How many solar panels do I need for my EV?

A standard number is about 10 solar panels. Most residences get 20-30 panels installed, so you should have more than enough power to charge your electric vehicle. Keep in mind that the number of panels varies on the size of your car’s battery, its mileage rating, and the distance you’re driving each day.

Do I need solar batteries to charge my EV?

No. It’s likely you won’t have to charge the EV’s full battery all at one time. It’s also likely you’ll be charging the vehicle at night during which you can earn net metering benefits — credit for solar energy that you contribute to the grid during the day. With those benefits, the grid can act as your additional energy storage, or battery.

That being said, it’s never a bad idea to consider solar batteries as part of your whole-home energy solution. Not only can solar batteries store the energy you generate but don’t use, they can also act as back-up energy sources during a power outage.

What is the green benefit of pairing solar with my EV?

You probably already know the environmental perks that come with making the switch from a gas-powered vehicle to an electric one. But did you know that when you charge your EV using grid power, you’re using an energy source of which nearly 60% is supplied by power plants fueled by non-renewable energy? So even though your vehicle doesn’t run on coal, you’re still powering it that way. Charging your electric vehicle with solar allows for a completely carbon-neutral footprint.

Is it cheaper to charge my electric vehicle with solar?

Yes. For one, producing your own energy at home with solar cuts your electric costs in half when compared to sourcing energy from the grid. That’s savings you’ll enjoy regardless of if you drive an electric vehicle or not. But additionally, if you use solar to charge your EV you’re looking at even greater savings — especially when calculated over time. Consider these numbers:

  • Cost of charging your EV using grid power: $.10 to $.40 per kWh. The price of fuel from the grid is what you pay for a kilowatt-hour (kWh). For every kWh in the EV’s battery, it gets about 4 miles; so 12 kWh gives you a 40-mile daily round trip at an average of $1.56. But remember that electricity prices rise over time, so when averaged over 25 years, the cost of powering your EV from the grid can get expensive.
  • Cost of charging your EV at a public charging station: $.28 to $.69 per kWh. Tesla charging stations can cost about $.28/kWh, while Blink can run about $.39/kWh (and even up to $.69/kWh for fast charging).
  • Cost of charging your EV with at-home solar: less than $.11 per kWh. If you take the cost of solar installation and look at the amount of energy that solar generates over 25 years, you’ll see savings of thousands of dollars for charging your EV with solar.

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