Homeowners can power their houses using energy converted from sunlight through solar power. However, can you charge an electric car with solar panels? Absolutely! Whether it’s charging a car or a smartphone, solar systems can provide energy for both. Even a home with only ten panels can provide enough power to charge the battery of an electric vehicle (EV).
For individuals who want to cut down on fossil fuel usage and want to — literally — go the extra mile with solar energy, an electric car will be an excellent investment. With that in mind, when you can charge an electric car with solar panels is a tad more complicated than filling the gas tank of traditional vehicles. Here’s a look at using solar power to charge electric cars and what homeowners need to know.
Before discussing how you can charge an electric car with solar panels, let’s first review what electric vehicles actually are. Compared to traditional cars that utilize internal combustion engines, electric automobiles use electric motors. Rather than have a gas tank containing fuel, electric cars use a battery to store energy. Hybrid vehicles also exist, which combine an electric motor with an internal combustion engine.
If you want to own an electric vehicle, the question you ought to be asking is not whether you can charge an electric car with solar panels — but how long it will take. Charging an electric automobile completely is much different than going to the gas station and simply filling up the tank with fuel. Owners of electric vehicles must understand that each car has a battery rating that dictates how much power the car can store and, in turn, how much energy is needed for a full charge. This is measured by the EPA through how many kilowatt hours (kWh) it takes for the vehicle to drive 100 miles. For example, a battery rating of 40 kWh/100 miles means the car needs 40 kWh to drive 100 miles. Therefore, driving 50 miles would take 20 kWh of electricity from the battery.
However, how long an electric vehicle takes to recharge can vary greatly on several factors. Charging EVs with solar energy can be faster or slower depending on the model and make of the vehicle itself. Additionally, the type of charger used can also influence the time it takes to charge. A Level 1 charging station, or 120v charger, offers 5 miles per hour of charging time, whereas a 240v Level 2 charger offers 25 miles for every hour charged.
It’s worth noting that electric car owners don’t typically wait for their batteries to die to begin charging. Instead, they will regularly charge their vehicle in stages to continually replenish energy throughout the week. This means you won’t normally have to charge your electric vehicle completely unless you return from a long trip.
When determining how long charging an EV with solar energy will take, the panels in your system and the power they produce are major factors you must consider. Finding the panel rating of your solar array will let you know how many watts a panel can produce in a given amount of time. However, you must also take the peak sun hours into account, which are the time when the intensity of the sun reaches 1,000 watts of photovoltaic power for each square meter.
Additionally, the solar energy produced by your panels will need to cover both your car’s battery as well as your home. Making your house require less energy by installing more energy-efficient appliances is one way you can save more solar power for your vehicle. Another way to obtain extra energy for charging the EV is by reaching out to solar installers and having them install a few more panels on your roof — this will increase the capacity of generated electricity, supplying enough for your home and vehicle.
You can charge an electric car with solar panels with the help of Impact Solar. We offer a variety of solar panel services, including our solar snow guards and critter guard installations, to offer continued protection. For additional information and to make your appointment, call Impact Solar today.