How Many Solar Panels Would It Take To Charge An Electric Car?

Electric vehicles (EVs) are an excellent method to reduce carbon emissions and fuel expenses. However, you must take into account how you will power your EV if you want to get the full benefits of your electric car.

Solar-powered electric cars enjoy the luxury of “running on sunshine.” The question is, how many solar panels are required to charge your EV?

10-12 solar panels (usually 5.4ft long for residential rooftops) will be able to provide enough power to charge your electric car with a standard-size battery. However, the number of solar panels required to charge an electric car varies with the size of the battery.

You must take into consideration several variables other than the size of your EV battery, such as the quality of your panels, the form of hardware, etc., to determine the number of solar panels needed to power your electric vehicle.

Let’s discuss a few of these factors and see the effectiveness of solar charging for your EV.

Calculating Solar Panels Required To Charge The Battery In Your EV

Let’s discuss the details that you should keep in mind to determine how much power is needed by your batteries.

First, your electric automobile’s battery capacity determines how much electricity is required to power it. Kilowatt-hours (kWh), a unit used to assess EV battery capacity, can be as low as 20 kWh or as high as 100 kWh.Opens in a new tab.

For instance, the BMW i3Opens in a new tab. has a 33 kWh battery, but the updated Tesla Model S has a 100 kWh battery.

Solar Panels Requirement According To Your Battery

The precise number of solar panels required will vary according to the size of the battery in your electric vehicle. 

However, let’s use the 75 kWh basic Tesla Model S in this instance.

We must first take into account how much electricity each solar panel, in turn, produces. The quality, size, performance, and other parameters that affect solar panels determine how much energy they can make.

Around 30 to 42.5 kWh of AC will be produced monthly by a standard 250-watt solar panel. Let’s pick the minimal amount to give us a conservative estimate, just to be cautious.

You would require an incredible 75 solar panels to generate enough electricity to power your Tesla Model S to 100 per cent capacity each day from zero per cent, assuming that one mediocre quality solar panel can provide about 1 kWh of AC electricity daily.

Fortunately, the daily mileage of an average passenger is 37 miles or around 12 kWhOpens in a new tab.. Therefore, 12 solar panels may be a more practical number. 

Note: This is only a careful estimate, so if your solar panels have high efficiency, you might need fewer panels. Additionally, the required panels will significantly drop if you travel fewer than 30 miles daily.

This number is quite reasonable for potential solar panel customers, and those with electric cars since most solar systems range from 25 to 30 panels.

Tools Required To Solar-Charge Your Electric Car

You will need to build a home charging station and a PV inverter deviceOpens in a new tab. that transforms the solar energy into DC power for the car to effectively charge an electric engine using solar panels. 

There are already a number of similar systems for sale, a few of which integrate both of these components in a single box. 

There isn’t a solo portable solar system available; instead, it must be linked with the remainder of your home’s energy grid.

Why Should You Charge Your Electric Car Using Solar Panels?

Even in the most expensive power markets, charging an EV is cheaper than purchasing petrol for an internal combustion engine (ICE). In addition, compared to ICE vehicles, maintenance expenses for electric automobiles are around 25% cheaper.Opens in a new tab. 

The average American travels roughly 13,500 miles annually, or about 40 miles daily, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.Opens in a new tab. 

The owner of a gas-powered Hyundai Kona will spend about $1,260 on 450 gallons of fuel each year. In contrast, the owner of a Kona EV would have to purchase 28 kWh of power for every 100 miles. They would only have to spend $662 if power prices in California were $0.1751/kWh.

3 Reasons To Charge Your EV From Solar

Solar-powered EV charging is preferable to other means of charging. Here are just a few reasons why you should shift to solar charging for your EV:

  1. In most circumstances, solar panels’ Levelized/net cost is less expensive than grid electricity.
  2. Grid power costs rise with time, yet solar panels provide electricity at no additional expense.
  3. Compared to grid power, solar energy is far less polluting:
FuelEnergy RequiredCostCO2 Emissions
Gasoline450 Gallons$1,2608,820 lbs
Public EV Charger3,780 kWh$1.0581,531 lbs
Grid Power 3,780 kWh$6621,531 lbs
Home Solar3,780 kWh$415368 lbs

Sources: Found hereOpens in a new tab. & And here.


Q. How Much Power Is Required To Completely Charge Your Electric Car?

According to the Federal Highway AdministrationOpens in a new tab., Americans drive an average of 14,000 miles each year; however, this varies slightly by state. The typical electric vehicle can travel roughly 3 miles per kilowatt-hour.

Therefore, you will require an extra 4,666 kWh of energy (14,000/3 = 4,666) to operate your automobile during the year.

Q. Should You Install More Solar If Your Home Already Has The System?

As your usage will rise with the use of EVs, adding 3 or more kW to your solar rooftop setup may be beneficial if it is not already serving all of your electricity needs.

You may even install battery storage to use part of your energy production to charge your automobile at night if your solar panel are already meeting your energy demands

Final Thoughts

Solar panels are the logical winners when compared to the price of gas or the cost of regular power from the energy supplier. The cheapest power source is solar, and it keeps getting more affordable.

Driving to a charging station, which may or may not be located near your home, is also far less convenient.

Lastly, you’re playing your part to lessen your carbon footprint and save the earth for future generations!

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