If you get an electric car then chances are you want to be greener, save money and do more for the environment.
Probably the biggest thing to consider is where does the electricity come from for the car and you might wonder can I charge an electric car with solar panels?
Yes, it is possible to charge an electric car with solar panels and this would be a great way to save money and be more environmentally friendly in the process.
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How many solar panels does it take to charge an electric car?
This will depend on the type of solar panels that you have, where you live and the weather and how far you drive in your car.
Most drivers average around 40 miles a day which equates to around 12 Kwh of electricity.
A single 250 watt solar panel will, on average, produce about 1 Kwh of electricity a day, so, in an ideal situation you would need around 12 x 250 watt panels to provide enough electricity to charge your car.
It may seem obvious but it is worth remembering that if you are at work all day then, when you get home there may not be much daylight remaining to charge your vehicle.
How big is your electric car's battery?
If you are looking at using solar power to charge an electric car then one thing that you will need to consider is the size of your car’s battery.
The bigger the battery the more power it will need to charge it up.
For example a Tesla has a much larger battery than the BMW i3, in fact the Tesla battery is more than three times the size of the BMW.
So a solar panel system that is great for the BMW would work for the Tesla but it would take three times as long to charge the battery from flat.
How long will it take to charge an electric car using solar power?
This depends on the amount of sunlight and its intensity and the type and number of solar panels that you are using to charge your electric car.
The size of your car’s battery will affect charging time with a larger battery requiring more power and longer to re-charge fully.
The prime issue is more likely to be the time of day that you want to charge your car.
Most home charging of electric cars occurs overnight when there is no sunlight for the solar panels to generate power.
That’s why, if you want to use solar to charge your car, you might also want to install and use a battery bank that will store the solar energy generated during the day, for use at night, to charge your car.
Can I charge my Tesla with solar panels?
Yes you can. If you have solar panels installed at your home then the power that your panels generate will be fed into your home.
If you wish to use solar alone then you will need to install a separate solar array with a suitable inverter that will enable you to use the power for your vehicle.
Can I install solar myself to charge an electric car?
It is certainly possible and well within the abilities of a decent DIY er to install a solar power system.
The components that you need are available online from companies such as Amazon and if you choose to DIY then you will save money.
There may be local laws that you may have to comply with and you should check these, but most of them that we’ve seen tend to deal with connecting solar panels to the mains grid and the location of the panels.
But you should check and get professional advice if you are unsure.
Will solar power reduce my electric bill for charging my car?
It will if you are able to charge your car up when the sun is shining and the panels are generating electricity.
So, for example, if you are out at work during the daytime and plug your car into charge overnight, then the solar array will not be generating power and you won’t see a difference.
However, if, say at weekends, you plug your car into charge during the day, then you will benefit from the solar panels, the electricity that they generate will be used to charge to car.
Over time, a solar electric system will reduce your costs, not just for charging your car but your general household bills too, because there will be times when you will be able to charge your car during the day.
You’ll be using the power of the sun and you will save money.
Conclusion - Can I charge an electric car with solar panels?
The thing with electric cars is that they are powered by electricity.
Sources of electricity don’t matter to the car, whether it is generated at a nuclear or coal power station, by wind or hydro power, or from a set of solar panels.
So long as the power generated is converted to the correct type for your vehicle then the electricity can come from anywhere.
Solar panels are certainly an option for you to charge your car and, if you already have a solar array installed at your home then your existing charging point will be taking advantage of the solar power.
If you are looking to get solar installed and you have or are thinking of getting an electric vehicle then plan ahead and get a solar panel system that has plenty of capacity to run your home and charge your car.
In the case of solar power bigger is generally best.