Can We Use Solar Energy to Charge Electric Vehicles? (Guide)

We now live in a great time where we have electric cars and the technology needed to harness the sun’s limitless energy.

Solar energy is slowly becoming more accessible thanks to an upsurge in demand over the past decade, and renewable energy systems now have a higher energy capacity than ever before.

The solar PV systems that are being produced today are large enough to handle the energy demands of an entire household and an electric car to boot! Meanwhile, companies like Nissan and Tesla are making electric cars more mainstream and accessible.

On the flip side, both of these technologies remain inaccessible to a majority of the population despite the rebates and incentives that have been offered by the government.

This is largely due to the lack of awareness about the fact that you can actually scale your solar energy charging system to keep costs low in the beginning and slowly build over time.

Using Solar Panels to Charge Electric Cars – Is It Possible?

solar electric car charging

Yes, certainly. Most solar systems can generate enough electricity to power your household and charge an electric car at the same time.

Even if your solar array only has 10 solar panels, you’ll always have enough to charge your car’s battery and keep the lights on in the house.

How Much Energy is Needed to Charge an EV?

Before you install a solar energy system, it’s important to figure out the amount of energy your car battery capacity will hold and use. This will help you determine the size of the solar array that you need to purchase.

Knowing the mileage rating of your electric car will also enable you to calculate the savings that you’ll make from changing to an electric vehicle.

According to the EPA, electric cars are rated based on the number of kilowatt-hours (kWh) that they burn per 100 miles driven. This amount translates to a “miles-per-gallon equivalent(MPGe). 

The easiest way to calculate the kWh/100 miles of your electric car is to visit FuelEconomy.gov. This is where you’ll also find the government’s electric car MPGe ratings.

It’s important that you calculate the fuel economy rating of your electric car as given by the EPA so that you can figure out how much power the vehicle will need.

For instance, let’s say you bought yourself a 2018 Nissan Leaf. Research shows that the Leaf uses 30 kWh for every 100 miles you drive it.

So if you drive on average 25 miles per day then you’ll need an average of 7.5 kWh per day to power your vehicle.

Once you know how much electricity your car will be demanding form your solar energy system, you can then design a customized system with your installer.

This solar energy system should generate enough power to cover your daily household electricity needs as well as recharge your car’s battery.

It’s also advisable to invest in a portable solar charger for electric cars if you can afford it.

If not, then you can start with a malleable solar PV system that you can customize to increase energy generation capacity down the line when you do finally purchase an EV.   

How Many Solar Panels Are Needed?

There’s never been a better time to invest in a solar energy system than right now.

There are literally tons of government rebates and incentives that have been created to make solar energy more accessible than ever before.

These financial incentives may not be available in the future, so it’s best to strike now while the iron’s hot.

You can also keep the upfront costs low by investing in a smaller solar energy system that’s flexible enough for you to install add-ons in the future as your energy needs grow.

Install a Powerful Inverter:

The string inverter is the go-to inverter for most installers. It works by tying the solar panels together in a row so that the energy they produce can be fed into the inverter at the end.

Most installers just assume that the client will want an inverter that can handle their current household energy needs so they just install a string inverter.

If you want something different like a flexible inverter that can handle your current and future energy needs, then you need to speak up to make sure that you get it.

Install Microinverters:

Instead of having a single string inverter as described above, you can go for microinverters. This means that each solar panel will have an individual inverter.

This makes it easier for you to install extra panels to your solar array without worrying about the capacity of your current inverter or having to purchase an extra inverter in order to power “extras” like a portable solar charger for the electric car.

Install Another Smaller Solar Energy System:

If you have a big enough roof to fit more than one solar energy system then you should just go for it and install a second solar array.

This will significantly increase the amount of solar power that you will be able to generate and meet all of your energy needs now and in the future.

The best part is that you can save money on the second installation as well by claiming federal tax credits.

Calculate Future Use:

Whether you’re planning on buying an electric vehicle or you want to add a few more rooms to your house, it’s important to factor in future energy needs when planning your solar energy system.

Be sure to discuss this with your solar installer before you go decide on anything. Also, keep in mind that building a solar system based on future electricity use is not always allowed by utility companies.

Alternatively, you can increase your home’s energy efficiency by using only energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs, as well as installing a programmable thermostat.

Small changes like this can significantly increase the amount of electricity that you have leftover at the end of the day. In turn, this will enable you to cater to the added electricity demand of a portable solar charger for the electric car when you do purchase it.   

These energy-saving strategies are useful for any addition that you make that may increase the demand for your home’s solar energy system.

This includes buying an electric car, installing a new swimming pool with lights, an electric water heater or a heat pump system, etc.

Using Solar Energy to Charge Electric Vehicles – The Most Efficient Method of Energy Transfer:

You might be wondering whether it is possible to make use of solar energy to charge electric vehicles, yes, it is all possible now! Do you know that a large number of companies have come up with this new and latest solar inverter system? It is true!

The purpose of using this inverted is to charge all kinds of electric vehicles for efficient and ideal energy transfer.

If you do own and have an electric car, then it is possible to charge it by utilizing a solar power system. Furthermore, this is marked as an excellent and best way to get this assurance that you enjoy an emissions-free and also a cost-efficient process.

The demand for electric vehicles and solar is growing higher and higher. This kind of technology has promised to offer and give out a more efficient method of powering your vehicles.

Moreover, this method is less expensive as well as environmentally-friendly.

Basics of Teaming Your Solar Right With Electric Vehicle Chargers:

You should have a clear understanding as to how to team and fuse your solar energy with these electric vehicle chargers. There are a few of the important pieces of details and information that you have to keep in mind.

Before you plan to charge your EVs with solar, you need to have a clear idea about the average electric vehicle power usage range. In addition, do read out the manufacturer recharging guidelines.

If you want to charge an electric vehicle right from a complete day’s solar production, then it will be requiring and needing a PV system that ranges approximately from 2 kW – 14 kW. 

Other Factors to Consider:

Charging Speed:

To use this solar energy for charging an electric vehicle, you need to make sure that your solar power system offers maximum charging speed. It needs to give out a speedier charge time.

Furthermore, if the vehicle owner will make use of a “solar boost mode,” then you are all set and ready to expect a full charge at a rate of around and about 6x faster as compared to the standard Level 1 EV chargers.

Advanced and Latest Monitoring Options:

If you have made your mind to charge your EV by using solar energy, then your solar panel system should be installed with advanced monitoring options.

In other words, that EV Charging solution should give the user meaningful control. This way, the user will have the freedom to tailor and customize their charging behavior.

This is an Installation-Friendly And Cost-Friendly Option for You:

Lastly, charging these electric vehicles with solar energy is an installation-friendly as well as a cost-friendly option for you. There is no need and requirement to get a designated circuit breaker for this RV charging job.

Hence, this is a forward-thinking solution that you can go for. If you are one of the EV customers and you hard charged your vehicle by availing solar energy, then share your experience.

Robert