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How Many Solar Panels to Charge an Electric Car

By Benjamin Strusnik May 17, 2022

How Many Solar Panels To Charge An Electric Car

Are you interested in making the switch from gasoline-driven vehicles to more affordable electric-powered cars? Perhaps you already drive an electrical vehicle and are looking at different ways to charge it. 

Why not go the extra mile and live an even greener and cleaner life by charging your electric vehicle with a solar power system? There are solar panels for air conditioning units, but there are also some for charging your electric car.

Electric cars are far more efficient than traditional combustion engines. The higher the electrical input or energy put into the vehicle’s battery, the further it will go. So, how many solar panels will you need to charge an electric car so that it is able to travel to your desired location?

The following article will detail how many solar panels are needed to effectively charge an electric car, as well as highlight how far you can travel after using a solar system to charge its battery.

How Do You Charge an Electric Car

solar panels to charge car

Driving an electric vehicle plays a huge role in reducing carbon emissions and charging your vehicle with a solar panel system can facilitate the reduction in air pollution and climate change.

Many countries have already adopted using solar power technology to power their homes and businesses, it is a no-brainer to use them to charge your electric car as well.

Before we go on to how many panels are needed to charge your electric car, it’s important to understand where and how to charge them.

Essentially there are only two ways to charge your electric vehicle. The first way to do so is through home charging stations or an EV (electrical vehicle) charger.

Public Charging Stations

How Many Solar Panels do you need To Charge An Electric Car

The second way to charge your vehicle is through public charging stations. This works in the same way as a home station, the only difference is you have to park your car somewhere and leave it to charge in a public space, which can be a bit of pain.

The more convenient option would be to have an at-home charging station, especially since there are few public charging stations available depending on where you live.

At-home Charging Stations

How Many Solar Panels are needed To Charge An Electric Car

An at-home charging station is as simple as it sounds: an electrical outlet that supplies electrical power for charging plug-in electric cars. It’s like a cell phone charger, but for your car, and with a lot of extra kick.

However, the cost of having your home charging station connected to your existing electrical grid will cost the same as using household electricity. Electric cars can hold an incredible amount of electricity, so it’s going to cost you a lot more in the long.

To put this into perspective, the cost of charging an electric car that is able to travel a 70-mile distance on standard household electricity is the same as running an air conditioner for six hours.

Doing this consistently might leave you with an empty wallet at the end of the month, which is why it’s important to use a charging station in conjunction with your solar panels.

So, now that charging stations are out of the way, how many panels are needed to charge your electric car.

How Many Panels Are Needed?

solar panels to charge you car

Unfortunately, this is not a one size fits all situation. In order to figure out how many solar panels you need to fully charge your electric car, you will need to take into account a few important factors, such as the size of your vehicle's battery that needs charging, the solar efficiency of your panels, and a suitable solar inverter.

Solar Inverter

The most important of those factors is to have a suitable solar inverter installed, as this is the only type of system that can “fuel” your electric vehicle.

Ultimately, a solar inverter converts direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). This is what allows you to power all your appliances and devices in your home as they all need AC electricity to run. A solar inverter is an essential part of a solar system that allows you to charge your electric car with solar energy.

So, once you have a suitable inverter installed in your home, all you need to do is connect it to your charging station.

Battery Size Matters

The battery size of your vehicle plays an important role in determining how much electricity is needed to charge your car.

Not all-electric cars have the same battery capacity. Some have larger batteries that require a little more power, while others have smaller batteries and only require a small amount of power till fully charged.  

For example, the popular Tesla Model S has a battery capacity of 100 kWh with a range of 249 miles, while the BMW i3 has a 33 kWh battery with a range of only 81 miles. To put this in perspective, the average power requirement of a 1,500-square-foot home is only 10 kWh a day.

Once we know the size of the battery, we can determine the number of panels needed to charge your vehicle.

You shouldn’t need to do any calculations to figure out the battery per solar panel for your electric vehicle, as these are built into the engine.

Efficiency and Number of Panels Needed

Let’s use the BMW i3 as an example, which has a 33 kWh battery.

The first thing you need to consider is the amount of energy that one individual panel produces. Thankfully, you won’t need a solar panel size calculation, as most standard solar panels typically generate around 30 kWh of power over 30 days, provided the weather is good.

solar panels to charge a car

This roughly equates to 1 kWh of power each day, which means you would need approximately 33 panels to generate enough electricity to charge your car over a 24-hour period.

However, the chances of your driving 81 miles within a single day is fairly low, with drivers usually averaging a distance of 37 miles every day. This means that you need between 10-12 kWh, which translates to 10-12 panels, to sufficiently charge your vehicle. 

If you have a higher-end solar panel system, you need fewer solar panels to reach the same 10-12 kWh of electricity. If you drive even shorter distances on average, then you would also need fewer panels to reach the required power.

Generally, the number of solar panels need to charge an electric car is between 6 and 12. This is more than enough to cover your travel distances.

There are other factors such as availability of sunlight and weather conditions that affect the number of panels you need.

Conclusion

Since its first arrival, the solar panel industry has continued to gain enormous attention and right now the industry is thriving.

Solar panels not only reduce our carbon footprint but also play an important role in curbing the effects caused by the rise in global warming. They also offer us an increase in our financial savings by substantially reducing our monthly utility bills.

To live an even greener and cleaner life, in addition to driving an electric car, you should look at installing a solar panel system in your home to charge your car’s battery.

There are a few things to take into account before implementing this environmentally suitable charging style. Your solar panel provider will provide advice, as well as calculate your solar panel wattage.

If you want to find out immediately then you can visit Shop Solar Kits. They have a great option on their website which allows you to select the best solar kit for your home and you will be able to see the capacity of individual panels. They also have an instant financing option that will allow you to purchase a solar panel and pay it off later.

So, let’s do mother nature and this world a favor by going solar.

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