Would Utilizing Solar Panels On Car Roofs Significantly Help Our Planet
Solar panels have been utilized for such a long period as a clean energy source. However, the question is, are they safe and clean energy sources for vehicles? It might be more harmful to the planet to generate enough of them for vehicles since they dont provide much return in terms of energy levels.
The manufacturing of solar panels produces carbon dioxide pollution even so, this isnt as much as the damage that torching coal would do for our planet. This means that if the technology for more efficient solar panels were formed, eventually, the output wouldnt matter.
The other concern for solar panels hails from dangerous chemicals that could be unearthed in the solar panels manufacturing process. These harmful chemicals, particularly sodium hydroxide and hydrofluoric acid, could leak into the soil and cause more pollution in our environment.
While this is such a rare case, this would reduce the solar panels entire objective. Did you know that there are plenty of toxic substances found in solar panels? Such toxins include arsenic, lead, and cadmium that could endanger our planet.
Unfortunately, these issues would become more severe if they were mass-produced for vehicles. Until theres an approach for solar panels to be quickly manufactured, at a cheaper cost, with less pollution formed, charging the vehicle using the conventional method is a better option.
How Long Does It Take To Charge An Electric Car With Solar Panels
This really all depends on where you live, that is how much Global Horizontal Irradiation you receive, how many miles you need to drive each day, and what size solar system you have installed.
But once again we can assume the below.
You own a Tesla Model 3, which has 353 miles of autonomy, and consumes around 14.9kWh every 62.13 miles.
Assuming you lived in California, and drove 62 miles each day, you would require a 2400W solar system to recoup your lost capacity within 6.25 hours.
Now bear in mind if you drove half that distance you would require half the amount of time to recoup your last capacity. This is of course assuming you want to completely recoup your lost capacity at all.
Remember the Model 3 has 353 miles of autonomy, meaning you could go a few days without charging and still be fine.
Upgrade Your Homes Electrical System With Mr Electric
Whether its adding solar panels, installing a home battery, or upgrading your garage with a Level 2 charger, updating electrical systems is no small task. Merging new components with an existing electrical system is a job for experienced professionals. Thats why your local Mr. Electric® has a team of licensed electricians who are ready to help you.
When youre ready to improve your home and your EV driving experience, call your local Mr. Electric at 866-1367 or make an appointment online.
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Workplace Solar Panel Systems
If you have a big roof at work, a solar panel array will allow you to generate a significant amount of electricity each day.
This solar electricity can help charge any electric vehicles you have plugged into their charging points in the carpark, as well as power other electrical equiupment, lights, computers, etc., inside the building.
Commercial solar panel installations typically start around £10,000 + VAT for small systems. If you have a big roof say 50m by 20m about 500 panels would fit on and the cost might be around £150,000 + VAT.
Commercial solar electricity systems usually have a payback period of 5-7 years and a useful life of at least 25 years.
Think About Tomorrow Today
When you decide to install your solar panel system, thinking about whether or not you will want to add a home charging point is crucial.
Even if you plan on buying an electric car two or three years down the road, you will want to plan your solar project with that taken into account because it can have impacts on the type of inverter and number of panels you will need.
Solar panels are a cost-effective way to fuel your electric car and may require anywhere from 6 to 12 solar panels. You can use the averages as a benchmark when doing your own analysis, and if you ever need help do not hesitate to talk with one of our energy advisors today!
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What About Incentives For Electric Vehicle Chargers
PSEG Long Island offers a $500 rebate with the purchase of a Level 2 Smart Charger. In order to qualify, you will need to purchase and install a smart charger from their list of preapproved vendors, then submit your claim online. Con Edison offers EV drivers in NYC the opportunity to earn cash for charging during off-peak hours through their SmartCharge NY program.
What Do You Need To Charge An Ev With A Solar System
You can only charge your EV from home when you have set up a charging station in your driveway or garage to plug in your car. Level 2 chargers are the best since they offer faster charging. You can also install Wi-Fi compatible options that will provide an estimated charge time and provide notifications when the car reaches a full charge. Apart from a charging station, you also need battery storage to store energy from your panels. If you charge during the day, the battery may not be necessary since you can charge the car with energy from the sun. However, since you use your car during the day to run errands, you can only charge it at night to maximum capacity. That means you need to charge the battery during the day when the sun is up and charge your car at night. Unfortunately, home battery storage has an average capacity of 14kWh. Although this capacity may not charge your car fully at night, you can meet your daily mileage requirements.
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Can You Charge An Electric Vehicle With Solar Power
Absolutely! If youre at home for most of the day, your electric vehicle can be charged directly from your solar PV system. If you plan to charge your car at night, however, youll need a domestic solar battery storage system to store the energy harnessed throughout the day.
If your solar panels can generate enough energy, it might even be able to power both your house and your car. Thats right no more energy bills or extortionate petrol prices!
Can You Charge An Electric Car With A Portable Solar Panel
Yes. You can charge an electric car with a portable solar panel. The modern solar panel provides enough energy supply to power up the car batteries. As you charge your batteries to use home appliances, the portable solar panel can produce needed electricity. A solar panel array with only ten solar panels generates sufficient charge to the batteries.
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Whats The Best Time To Charge Your Electric Car
A lot of solar homeowners have time-of-use plans with their electric utility company. If you have TOU, your price of electricity changes during the day and from winter to summer. I wrote a guide on TOU that explains it indepth.
Its also good to understand the basics of net metering, if youre not familiar with it already. Net metering means you get a full credit for any unused solar electricity you sell back to the utility. Unfortunately, not all utilities offer it. You can read our guide on net metering to learn more.
Once you have a grasp of TOU and net metering, youll be able to make sure that youre charging your EV when it maximizes the financial return and environmental benefit of your solar panels.
Buy The Equipment Needed To Charge Your Electric Car With Solar
Of course you cant just stick five solar panels on your roof and plug them into your car. You need a solar panel system and all the equipment that goes with it.
A typical solar EV charging setup would include the following:
- Solar panels on your roof, mounted on metal racks and attached to the roof deck
- Either a central string inverter that combines the DC output of the solar panels to AC, or micro-inverters that convert each panels output to AC and send it to a combiner box that connects to your main AC panel
- A Level 2 EV charger
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How Big Is Your Evs Battery
Now that we understand exactly how you can use a solar panel system to fuel your electric car, we can get into the details that determine how much electricity is required.
First and foremost, the quantity of electricity needed to fuel your electric car is dependent on the capacity of its battery. An EVs battery capacity is measured in kilowatt hours and can range from the the low 20s or up to 100 kWh or more.
For example, the upgraded Tesla Model S has a 100 kWh battery, whereas the BMW i3 only has a 33 kWh battery.
Understanding How Electric Cars Charge
Although modern electric cars such as the Tesla Model S have a considerable amount of engineering and sophistication under their hoods, the basic science involved isnt a lot more complicated than the tiny electric motors that you hooked up to a 9-volt battery in your high school science class. One significant difference is the incredible amount of power capacity in the cars batteries. Tesla uses very powerful lithium-ion batteries, which give their cars enough juice to travel a couple of hundred miles before they must recharge.
All of these fundamental similarities mean that charging electric cars doesnt involve a large amount of ingenuity, just a power source that can deliver energy to the cars batteries in the correct way so that the batteries do not overheat and cause damage. Currently, there are three levels of charging for electric vehicles:
Measuring the Efficiency of Electric Cars
It would be useful to explain how efficiency works with electric cars before we get into the costs associated with charging them. While gas-powered vehicles efficiencies are measured in MPG , electric cars tend to stack up based on kWh/100mi . Because you want to be spending as little energy as possible to drive those 100 miles, having a lower kWh/100mi is better than a higher one.
Here are a few examples ofmodern electric vehicle efficiencies:
- 2017 Chevy Bolt 28 kWh/100 mi
- 2013 Nissan Leaf 29 kWh/100 mi
- 2017 Tesla Model S P100D 35 kWh/100 mi
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What About Using A Generator
Bringing along a small generator would certainly charge your auxiliary batteries faster, and if it had a built-in inverter that you could plug your EVs mobile charger into, then youd gain some efficiencies. But, even assuming the generator pumps out reliable 110V power, youre still looking at only gaining about 5 miles of range for every hour of charging.
And from an overall efficiency standard, that translates to probably about 5-10 miles per gallon of gas used by your generatorwhich is, honestly, on par with what many RVs and non-diesel camper vans get in the wild. Except that your vehicle is probably emitting far fewer pollutants than a generator. And less noise. And then you dont have to bring a generator.
Round Trip Efficiency And Why 1kwh Of Solar Energy Doesnt Equal 1kwh Of Ev Charge
Due to inefficiencies between solar panels, inverters and the batteries in your car, you should expect charging losses of more than 10%.
What this means is if your solar panels generate 1kWh of energy, only 900Wh of that will end up as energy in an EVs battery pack. Because of this, you may want to install more solar panels than you think you need to compensate for these charging losses.
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Using Battery Storage To Charge Your Electric Car At Night
It is possible to charge a home battery system during the day with solar power and then charge an electric car in the evening with this stored energy. But this type of heavy usage will shorten the life of a solar battery, although the technology is getting better in this regard. Additionally, losses mount up between solar panels to home battery, then from home battery to EV charging.
Is It Worth Charging Your Electric Car With Solar Panels
In our opinion, absolutely.
A solar system could essentially keep your electric car charged 365 days a year. This could potentially provide you with enough solar savings for a payback period of roughly 8 years.
Considering solar systems last up to 25 – 30 years, once you have paid off your PV system, you could charge your EV for $0 for up to 17 years or more.
Not only will you be saving money when it comes to charging your electric car, but a solar system will also allow you to generate free electricity effectively doubling your ROI.
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How Big Is Your Electric Vehicle Battery
One of the key things to suss out before installing a solar panel system is how much electricity your car will consume. As a general rule, the bigger the battery, the more energy itll eat away.
To give you an idea of how many miles you can get out of different sized batteries, weve outlined a few examples below.
|Type of car|
|375-mile range for Tesla S Model|
Data from Tonik
How To Charge An Electric Car At Home
Electric cars can actually be charged using a standard 3 pin plug but this isn’t recommended. For a faster charge, you should have a home-charging point installed which is much more efficient:
- 3 pin plug: 12-15 hours
- Home-charging point: 4-8 hours
It’s worth noting that letting your EV run down to empty before charging it isn’t the best idea and cause the battery to decay faster, meaning its ability to hold a charge will reduce over time).
Public charging points are also becoming more common, appearing in car parks and motorway service stations. These charging points are normally ‘rapid chargers’ and can provide 60-200 miles of range in a short 30 minute period. However, frequent use of these rapid chargers can cause the battery to degrade at a much faster rate.
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Charging Your Electric Car With Solar Panels
Electric cars and solar panels are the ultimate combination for reducing environmental impact and energy costs. Adding an at-home charging station can also save you the time and money of looking for a public charging station to recharge at. You can simply plug your car in at night, and it will be ready to go in the morning.
In order to start charging your electric car with solar panels, you will have to install a home electric vehicle charging station. Getting your EV home charger set up will likely require some electrical work in the garage from a certified electrician to provide the chargers 240-volt power source. Costs of charging stations vary, but the average EV charger installation cost is about $750.
Although the amount will vary depending on the size of your cars battery, around 10 solar panels should generate enough electricity to charge the average car battery.
Now that you know that it is possible to power your garage using only solar power, you have some things to consider. If you own your home, use a lot of electricity in your garage, want to be more environmentally conscious, and there are significant rebates or incentives available in your area, then getting solar panels installed may be worth it to you.
How Many Solar Panels Do You Need On Your Home To Support An Electric Vehicle
Just like the L per 100 km measurement for petrol cars the amount of fuel a car will consume, on average, to travel 100km electric cars also have a similar measurement: kWh per km.
This varies from EV to EV but on average, most electric cars will get about 6km of range from 1kWh of electricity in their battery pack. For the average Australian driver who drives around 50km per day, an electric car will need about 8kWh of electricity to recharge what they use.
1kW of solar capacity will produce, on average per day over a year, 4kWh of electricity less in the winter, and more in the summer. So, it would seem you need to add around 2kW of solar panels to your roof to offset the charging of an electric car that is driven ~50km per day. But theres more to consider read on.
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Solar Panel Battery Storage
What to do with all the energy you dont use? You can store it in an energy storage system, a giant battery that captures electricity for you.
An energy storage system lets you charge with solar power at night because it stores electricity during the day.
An energy storage system will increase the cost of your solar installation, but it is the only way to capture the electricity you generate from solar. Without an energy storage system, much of the energy you produce will go to waste!
Solar battery storage options
Lithium-ion batteries are the most efficient batteries for energy storage. The Tesla Powerwall is the most famous product of its kind, designed specifically for renewables, and it can store up to 13.5kWh and discharge at 5-7kW.
A product similar to the Tesla Powerwall in looks is the Puredrive PureStorage II, which is available in 5kWh and 10kWh capacities. The PureStorage II is British-made and extremely well-regarded among the solar community.
Another option is the GivEnergy LiFePO4, which can store 5.2kWh or 8.2kWh depending on the version, with full renewable integration.