Driving on Sunshine: Charging Your Electric Vehicle with Solar Power

The synergy between solar panels and electric vehicles is a match made in eco-conscious heaven. Many forward-thinking homeowners are now exploring the possibility of using their solar-generated electricity to charge their EVs. This not only reduces dependence on traditional grid power but also allows individuals to drive on sunshine, creating a closed-loop system of sustainable energy. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about EV solar panel charging helping you to drive around on clean, free energy.

Can I Charge my EV With My Solar Panels?

The simple answer to this question is yes, you can use the solar panels on your roof to charge your EV parked on the drive. A modern solar panel system coupled with a solar-compatible charger will enable you to top up your car for free. In practice, however, most homeowners won’t be able to fully charge their EVs using purely solar energy and that is just down to logistics. 

Solar panels produce electricity during the daytime, but that’s exactly when most EV owners are driving their cars around. The majority of electric car owners will be looking to charge their vehicles after dark, and this is where a mismatch occurs. Unless you have the chance to regularly plug in your EV while the sun is up, the charger will have to rely on National Grid power. However, using a mix of solar energy and grid power is highly possible and will go a long way to reducing your electric bills.

If you have a solar battery storage system, you could take advantage of the stored power. These battery systems harvest any excess solar energy that is not used during the daytime. On cloudy days or after dark, the stored energy is directed for use in the home and this could include the EV charger.

You will also need a solar-compatible EV charger. These devices have been designed with special features that monitor your solar generation and the energy coming from the grid and will start charging your EV at the point it detects there is surplus solar. They can also be programmed to charge the car before powering other appliances in the home, or vice versa. If you want to utilise the energy generated by your solar panels, these chargers are a must-buy.

How long does it take to charge an electric car with solar panels?

If you get the opportunity, perhaps at the weekend, to charge your electric car during the daytime, how long can you expect it to take? It can take up to 12 hours to fully charge, but this timing of course depends on many factors. You must consider the size of the car battery, the outside temperature and the EV charger point speed. If you are running lots of appliances in the home at the same time, this will likely slow charging time further.

If you have a battery storage system installed alongside your panels, you will have access to surplus solar energy that was generated during the daytime. This energy can be drawn on later in the day or at night, either to power your devices in the home, or charge your electric car. By installing a solar-compatible charger, the power will be managed automatically making the optimum use of free or cheapest power.

The more power you require for your daily use, the more solar panels you need, but there is not always space for extra panels on your roof. On average, a solar panel system with around 8–12 panels can charge an electric car, but this all depends on the model of your car and how much sun the solar panels have captured. The number of appliances and devices drawing power inside the home will also have an impact. The best way to understand exactly how many panels you need for your circumstances is to speak with an expert who can calculate your forecasted output.

Final Thoughts

At a time when we’re embracing the transition to electric vehicles, drivers are looking for innovative ways to power their cars while reducing their energy use and carbon footprint. With the advancements in solar panel technology and their increased affordability, integrating a solar panel package with a home EV charger offers a sustainable solution.

Charging your EV with solar energy is an easy way to beat soaring energy prices by reducing your dependency on the grid. If charging your EV everytime via your solar panels isn’t feasible, all is not lost. Even partial charges are a sustainable and cost-effective option, as it consumes fewer fossil fuels and requires less power from the grid.

Similar Posts