Look Towards The Future
Even if you arent ready just yet to purchase an electric car, you can still start prepping by estimating your future electric costs with a solar panel system. Systems can always be added to later as your electric needs grow. And you can also take advantage of any rebates or tax incentives that are locally and federally offered now before those expire.
How Much Do Electric Cars Cost
The number of electric cars available on the market is on the rise and they’re more affordable than ever. The price of many models can be made more affordable with a £3,500 discount through the Plug-in Car Grant .
Depending on the model, EV prices carn range from £21,220 right up to £90,800 . A higher price will often get you an EV with a larger battery capacity that’s able to drive further on a single charge.
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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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.
Charge Your House Too
Roughly two-thirds of the costs of a solar installation are the soft costs of labor, inspections, permitting, and other business costs, not the solar panels themselves. So if your roof supports enough panels capable of providing all your electricity needs, it makes little economic sense to install only enough solar panels to charge your electric vehicle.
A rooftop solar system sends its electricity into the grid but also charges your vehicle when the sun is shining and the solar system is generating electricity. But most EV charging is done during the evening and nighttime hours, so, as with a community solar farm, you will in essence be charging your EV with grid electricity and offsetting it with the electricity that your rooftop solar system generates.
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Common Questions Around Ev Charging Using Solar
What are my home EV charging options?
What type of EV charger is best suited to rooftop solar?
How long will it take to charge my EV a rooftop solar system?
Can I use a home battery to charge an EV?
Our unique solar and EV charging calculator will help you determine how much solar you need to charge an electric vehicle.
Determine Your Future Use And Build A Bigger System To Match
If you know that your electricity use will increase in the next year or two and have access to enough financing, you can build your solar energy system based on your future electricity use. This isnt always an option some utilities wont approve systems that go significantly beyond your historical electricity use, so be sure to talk to your solar installer about your options first.
Another option is to make room later down the line by implementing energy efficiency upgrades to your home, which has the added benefit of reducing your overall energy costs. Consider switching out light bulbs, installing a programmable thermostat, or upgrading your appliances to free up some of the electricity your solar panels generate for future use in an electric vehicle.
Its worth noting that the strategies above work not just for electric cars, but also for any other additions or changes you make to your house that will increase your electricity usage. If youre considering adding an electric heat pump system, electric water heater, or an addition on your home, you can expand your solar energy system to take your future electricity use into account.
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How Many Solar Panels Does It Take To Charge An Ev
This depends largely on the EVs battery size and the efficiency of your solar panels, which may vary depending on their material, size, etc.
To understand how to calculate the number of panels you may need to power your EV, consider the following example.
Let us make the conservative assumption that your solar panels can each produce 1 kWh of electricity daily. If you own a Tesla Model S that houses a 75 kWh battery, you will need 75 solar panels to get your battery to full capacity. But thankfully, the average driver only drives for 37 miles a day, which means that you would need only around 12 kW of electricity. This amounts to 12 solar panels. This is a realistic number, given the fact that a typical solar system has around 25-30 panels.
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#vanlife: Can You Charge An Electric Vehicle With Rooftop Solar Panels
Posted on July 14, 2021 by Tyler Benedict
Youre not alone in eyeballing that new Ford F150 Lightning or Rivian R1T as a potential overland truck. Or the Ford Transit Electric as a custom camper van. How nice would it be to ditch the constraints of gasoline, not to mention the pollution and expense, and just escape off grid?
The trick, of course, is battery life. So, we wondered, is it possible to charge an electric vehicle off of solar panels?
The simple answer is, yes, you could charge an EV from onboard solar panels.
The real answer is, no, its not practical yet, because math. It would simply take too long to charge up your camper van or overland truck to the point where it could drive any useful distance. But why? What would it take? And how far off are we? Lets find out
Disclaimer: I am an amateur mathematician and electrician at best, but I had smarter people fact check this story, and for all practical purposes, it accurately explains the concept.
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Number Of Cars Per Household
Using figures from the 2016 census it is possible to estimate the number of cars Australian households have:
- 8% of households have no car.
- 36% have 1 car.
- 37% have 2 cars.
- 19% have 3 or more cars.
The more cars a household has the fewer kilometers each is likely to average per year, but despite this it may be difficult for households with multiple cars to install enough rooftop solar to charge them all and meet household electricity consumption.
It is likely that most multiple car families will just buy one electric car at first, but I have heard of families getting one electric car and then rapidly changing all their vehicles to electric so they dont have to fight over who gets to drive the electric car4.
Problem #2 Theyre Even Slower Off Standard Outlets
If your friend doesnt have a 240V outlet, or you havent installed one at your home, that charger is pulling from a standard U.S. 110-120V outlet, kW output drops to 3.84, but charge times will likely more than double. Those 19 hours become about 40 hours or more.
Probably a lot more, because Ford says its Mobile Charger will add about 20 miles per hour of charge to the smaller, lighter, and more aerodynamic Mach-E on a 240V outlet, but only about 3 miles of range per hour on a 110V outlet. So, optimistically, lets say the Lightning would get 2 miles per hour of charge on a standard home outlet.
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What Is A Solar Charging Station
The Solar Power Charging System is a basic independent power plant designed to generate electricity satisfying basic needs such as lighting, TV, notebook, fridge, ceiling fan, and charging battery of electric vehicles. The solar power station can be coupled with local electricity grid or can be installed 100% off grid. The power system grid tied is connected to the grid utility through an inverter that convert the current generated by the PV panels into 110 220 V AC current for use in your home. Excess power will be sold back to the public utility to save your energy bill. IUt is perfect for a rental business.
Net Metering Vs Net Billing
If you have net billing, you donât receive a full credit for any excess solar electricity that you send into the grid. Rather than being credited at the retail rate of electricity, you are often only paid the wholesale rate of electricity, which is the rate that power plants charge your utility company for electricity. Under net billing, youâre incentivized to use your solar electricity rather than grid power.
Unfortunately, this means using electricity during the day, rather than morning or evening. But most people with EVs charge their cars in the evening when they get home from work, which means that having net billing is not an ideal situation for an EV owner. If this is your case, one possibility is to minimize your charging during the week and instead try to make it to the weekend so that you can be home to charge your car during daylight hours. However, this may mean stretching the range limit of your car, which can be anxiety-inducing.
A much better situation is to have net metering. If you are under net metering, you get full credit for energy you send into the grid. This eliminates the urgency to use your own solar electricity.
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How To Set Up A Solar
If you are not technically competent to do so, you will need the services of a solar installer. The most likely place to fix the panels is the roof of your house. However, if that is not possible, a raise inclined platform will work just fine.
One question you must answer is when you want to charge your car. Sunlight is available only during the day, by which time you might have driven the car to work. In this scenario, you can introduce a battery storage system like Tesla Powerwall to store the energy during the day and charge your car when you return home. Suppose you live in states where you can sell power to the grid. In that case, you can supply all the power your panels produce during the day to the grid to get energy credits and use the credit to charge during the night. This way, you can avoid the extra cost of a battery. However, suppose your car is almost always at home during the day. In that case, it can serve as a battery so you can power your home with solar energy after the sun has set.
With a home charging station set to charge during the sun hours, you can make sure to use as much of your solar power as possible to charge your EV.
The next step is to determine the number of solar panels you need to charge your car.
Lightyear One And Sono Motors
Lightyear One is a startup based in The Netherlands. Its car will seat 5, drive 450 miles on a fully charged battery, go from 0 to 60 in 10 seconds, and with built-in solar panels gain 7.5 miles of range per hour on a sunny day. Hereâs what it looks like:
If you look closely, you can see thereâs no rear window. Instead, the area where the rear window would be is taken up by solar panels. Thereâs also solar panels on the roof and hood of the vehicle. The specs donât state how much power they generate, but I would guess that the car probably generates in the neighborhood of one kilowatt from its solar panels in bright sunlight.
Sono Motors is the other company thatâs attempting to bring a solar car to market. Based in Germany, the approach Sono is to develop a more conventional-looking vehicle that has proportions similar to a Smart car and other micro cars.
The vehicle is called the Sion. It will seat 5, have 155 miles of range, hit a top speed of 87 mph, and packs a 35 kWh battery.
As you can see, the Sion does have a small rear window, unlike the Lightyear One. Every available surface is covered with solar panels, including the roof, hood, rear hatch, and doors. Sono says that altogether the vehicle has 1.2 kW of monocrystalline solar panels that will add 21 miles of range per day in sunny weather.
Prototypes taking pre-orders now
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Solar Panels And Ev Chargers
Before combining technology, it is important to know how both parts work. Solar power has been around for a while now, so most people are familiar with how a solar panel system functions. Essentially, one or more panels are affixed to the roof of your home or another surface that receives a lot of sunlight. However, these panels only generate electricity and cannot store it. This means it has to be used immediately or stored in a solar battery.
On the other hand, EV chargers are an essential piece of equipment if you plan to own an electric car. Sure, you could rely purely on public charging stations, but these are more expensive and less convenient to access. Luckily, chargers aren’t overly expensive and can connect to a standard household outlet. There is also the option to upgrade to a faster Level 2 charging unit, though it requires additional equipment and specialized cables to be installed at your home or place of work.
Can We Charge Electric Cars With Solar
Having an electric car that is solar powered seems like an excellent step to achieve a green sustainable planet, if that matters to you, you should know that more and more electric cars continue to dominate the market and steal the market share away from their counterpart .
Right now, the electric car world is witnessing an increase in demand for electrical cars and research technology geared towards the efficient charging of lithium-ion batteries. Some electric car enthusiasts are looking for a seamless way to integrate the fast charging process of lithium-ion batteries with portable solar chargers.
At the current state of technology, this seems inefficient and a mirage because the numbers do not add up.
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Home Charging And The Difference Between Level 1 2 And 3 Charging
Electric car chargers are divided into three levels, where level 1 is the slowest form of charging and level 3 is the fastest.
Level 1 charging is the slowest rate thats normally possible and uses a standard power point. This will allow around 20 kilometers of range to be added to an electric car per hour but this can vary from vehicle to vehicle.
So, if you park for 10 hours overnight, a level 1 charger will add around 200 kilometers of range to your car.
Level 2 charging involves installing a specialised EV charger in your home, which can add over 40 kilometers of range to an EV per hour. There are many brands of EV chargers available, and as a ballpark figure expect to pay ~$2,000 to get one installed.
Be warned that your EV manufacturer may require a level 2 charger to be installed where the car is kept in order for it to stay in warranty.
A level 2 SolarEdge EV charger. Image credit: SolarEdge
Level 3 charging is rapid charging using dedicated public chargers. Probably the best known example of a level 3 charger is the Tesla SuperCharger:
A level 3 Tesla SuperCharger. Image credit: Tesla
These types of chargers are most likely to be used by people traveling long distances, or those caught short of charge, as they can add around 400km of range per hour.
Determine How Many Kwh You Need Every Day
The first step is to find out how many kWh are needed to drive your car. If you keep track of mileage over a year, this step can be pretty easy. If not, you can estimate using an average number of miles per day.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the average American drives about 13,500 miles per year, or about 40 miles per day. Lets use that as a baseline. Here are the most efficient electric cars for 2021, excluding plug-in hybrid cars:
Top 15 U.S. electric vehicle models in 2021 by efficiency
|Make and Model|
|Porsche Taycan 4S||16.8|
*Sorted by kWh per 40 miles data from FuelEconomy.gov where multiple trim levels exist, the most efficient was chosen to limit each car model to one entry.
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How Many Solar Panels Does It Take To Charge An Electric Car
Electricity is expensive, just like gas. While you can hook your EV charger to the grid and pay your utility to charge your car, you could also cut your carbon emissions by using renewable energy instead. If you have a solar system or youre considering installing one to power your EV charger, it may take fewer solar panels than you think.
As a general estimate, it could take in the neighborhood of eight and 14 solar panels to charge your electric car. This depends on how much you drive, the efficiency of your vehicle, the sunshine in your area, and the type of panels you have installed. The installation cost for a system of this size would likely be $20,000 to $25,000 before incentives.
To get a clearer picture, youll have to determine how much electricity your car uses. Well take a look at how many kilowatt-hours it takes for your car to travel 100 miles. To find this out, you can look up your vehicle on fueleconomy.gov. The number you need will be at the bottom of the green EPA Fuel Economy box:
Once you have that information, find out how much extra electricity youll need to power your car each month with the following formula:
/ 100 = kWh needed per month
Or, use our calculator below:
Heres an example. Sticking with our averages, well say we drive 1,100 miles each month with a car that uses 30 kWh of electricity to travel 100 miles. Crunching the numbers, well need 330 kWh to travel that distance each month.