As the world continues to shift towards renewable energy, charging electric vehicles (EVs) with solar panels is becoming an increasingly popular option. Not only does it reduce reliance on fossil fuels, but it also allows EV owners to save money on their energy bills.
This is good news for California homeowners, where electricity prices are 19% higher than the national average. And while Colorado electricity prices are below the national average, Xcel’s time-of-use rates have upped peak usage by as much as 58% in winter and 14% in summer, which can drastically increase your bills if you’re not careful.
If you have an electric vehicle and you’re looking to save on charging costs, installing solar panels to charge your EV is an excellent way to achieve energy savings and independence.
That said, there are some important factors to consider when charging an electric vehicle with solar panels, including:
- Solar panel capacity
- The size of your EV battery
- Charging time and scheduling
- Cost and return on investment
- Impact of a home battery
We’ll explore each factor below.
Looking to install an electric vehicle charging station in your California or Colorado home?
Contact Photon Brothers for a FREE custom estimate. We’ll evaluate your home’s electrical system and EV charging requirements to recommend the most suitable charging station for your specific needs. Plus, you can rest easy knowing that our licensed electricians have a perfect safety record.
Solar Panel Capacity
When looking to charge your EV with solar panels, it’s important to ensure that your solar panel system has a high enough capacity to meet the energy demands of both your home and your electric vehicle. If your solar system isn’t large enough, or if the energy efficiency isn’t high enough, you won’t be able to reap the benefits of charging with solar energy.
If you don’t yet have solar panels installed, schedule a free consultation with a trustworthy solar installer. They’ll help you determine what size of solar system you need based on factors like:
- How much electricity you need to power your home
- Your daily energy consumption habits
- The location of your home
- Surrounding trees/homes/shaded structures
- The direction your roof faces
- The make and model of your electric vehicle
- And more…
Based on this information, they’ll recommend the right number and type of solar panels you’ll need to meet your energy needs, including your EV. Quality solar companies tend to install panels from reputable brands that provide higher long-term efficiency, so you’ll get more from your solar investment.
At Photon Brothers, we guarantee a minimum of 90% efficiency after 25 years. Rest assured that your solar panels will still be able to charge your electric vehicle, even if you’re already onto your second, third, or fourth model!
The Size of Your EV Battery
The size of your EV’s battery can impact how much energy is needed for charging and how much energy can be stored for later use. As we touched on above, it’s important to match the battery capacity with the output of your solar panels, to ensure the EV can be charged effectively.
A larger battery will require more solar energy, which means you’ll probably need more panels (or panels with higher wattage) to accommodate it. Additionally, you may end up wanting a more powerful charging station, which will draw more energy too.
As a general rule, the charging rate should not exceed the vehicle’s maximum charging speed to avoid damaging the battery. However, when you work with an experienced solar company, they’ll make sure your solar system not only meets the needs of your EV’s battery, but that your charging station is appropriately sized and correctly installed.
Charging Time and Scheduling
To ensure that your EV is fully charged when you need it, you’ll need to schedule your charging times accordingly. For example, you may want to schedule your EV charging during the day when your solar panels are producing the most energy. You may also want to set up a smart charging system that automatically schedules your EV charging based on the amount of available solar energy.
This is especially important when your solar system doesn’t include a battery. If you don’t have a bank of stored energy to pull from, your EV will only charge when the sun is out. (We’ll share more on the advantages of energy storage below.)
As the EV market advances, so too has the technology to make charging even more convenient. Tesla Wall Connectors, for example, come with an app that you can use to manage your charging schedule straight from your phone!
To learn more, contact Photon Brothers. We’re certified to install Tesla products and will provide you with a free custom estimate!
Cost and Return on Investment
While charging with solar panels can be cheaper in the long run compared to charging with traditional electricity, the upfront costs can be significant. That said, they can ultimately save you money on fuel costs and electricity bills long term, especially if you take advantage of current tax credits and rebates on solar installations.
To calculate the potential return on investment of charging your EV with solar panels, start by estimating your annual fuel costs and comparing them to the cost of your solar panel and/or battery storage system. You’ll also want to factor in any available incentives or tax credits for solar installations, including the cost of electricity in your area.
As electricity prices continue to rise in states like California and Colorado, going solar– and charging your EV with solar power– is pretty much a no-brainer. According to Energy Sage, Colorado homeowners can anticipate saving upwards of $30,000 in electricity bills over 20 years by going solar. California homeowners with solar are likely to receive upwards of $78,000 in electricity savings over 20 years.
Impact of a Home Battery
Having a home battery in addition to solar panels can have a significant impact on electric vehicle charging. With a battery storage system, excess solar energy generated during the day can be stored for later use, such as in the evening or at night when your EV needs to be charged.
This means that you can use your stored solar energy to charge your EV, even when your panels are not producing as much power. This can be especially useful for EV owners who drive longer distances or have larger EV batteries that require more energy to charge.
In addition to providing energy for EV charging, a home battery can also help to reduce energy bills and provide backup power during power outages. By storing excess solar energy, you can reduce your reliance on grid electricity and potentially lower your energy bills. And in the event of a power outage, your battery storage system can provide backup power to your home and EV, ensuring that you stay connected and powered up even during emergencies. Overall, a home battery can be a valuable addition to any solar-powered EV charging system.
Ready to upgrade your home with an electric vehicle charging station?
Don’t wait to enjoy the convenience of home EV charging! Contact Photon Brothers for a free estimate on a range of EV charging stations. We’ll assess your vehicle’s battery, your home’s electrical panel and layout, and then help you find the right charging station for your needs and budget.
Looking to install solar panels too? We’re proud to offer premium panels and energy storage systems that come backed by a 25-year performance and workmanship guarantee. Call us at (720) 370‑3344 (Colorado) or (805) 351‑3371 (California) to book a FREE custom estimate today. Or you can click below to use our online solar calculator and get ballpark pricing in just seconds!