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Can I charge my electric vehicle using solar panels?

Solar panels can be great sources of energy not only to power your home but also to power and charge your electric vehicle. Here, we explain how solar panels work and what it takes to charge your electric vehicle using solar energy.

Solar panels on roof of residential home

How do solar panels work?

Solar panels are typically placed on the roof of a home and convert sunlight into electricity through a process called the photovoltaic effect. When sunlight hits the semiconductor material of the solar panel (normally silicon), the electrons get excited and create a flow of electricity. This movement of electrons produces an electric current. Solar panels produce direct current (DC) which then needs to be converted into alternating current (AC) before you can use it at home through an inverter. Once the electricity has been converted, you can use it to power appliances, as well as the lighting and heating for your home. You can also store this electricity in batteries to use later.

Can I charge my electric vehicle using solar panels?

Yes! Solar panels can connect to your EV charger at home, making your roof feed electricity to your car.

In order to charge your electric vehicle with solar panels, you will need a good set-up. This includes:

  • Rooftop solar panels
  • Inverter (to convert DC output to AC electricity)
  • Battery storage system
  • Level 2 charger

The number of solar panels needed will depend on your daily electricity consumption and how big the battery of your electric vehicle is. The average-sized roof will fit enough solar panels to accommodate the charging needs of most EVs, however, it is important to check with a professional solar panel installer.

The amount of solar energy you gather will also depend on the time of year, day, and weather conditions. During winter, for example, you will likely need to supplement your solar panels with power from the electricity grid.

It is also important to note that solar panels generate power during daylight hours. Most people prefer to charge their electric vehicle overnight so that they can wake up to a full battery in the morning. Therefore, it is important to have a battery storage system so that you can store the energy you generate during the day and use it at night to charge your EV.

What else should I consider when charging my EV with solar panels?

While solar panels are expensive to install, the power they generate is cheaper than buying electricity from the grid. By generating your own solar power, you buy less power from the grid and save money in the long run. This means you also save money on charging your electric vehicle in the long run. Make sure to also look out for any solar panel installation tax incentives and government subsidies in your area.

How does level 2 EV charging work?

Level 2 EV chargers help you charge your electric vehicle up to six times faster from home or around 30 miles per hour of charge. They plug into a 240-volt outlet and need to be installed by a professional. Level 2 chargers come in various single-phase currents: 24A, 32A, 40A, and 48A. The greater the current, the faster the charge and the more space you will need on your electrical panel to install it.

For Level 2 charging you need a privately owned parking space, enough space in the electrical panel, the right hardware and to find a certified electrician. Lectrium is here to help guide you along the process. Get started by taking our quick survey and receiving your estimate today.

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© 2022 Lectrium. All Rights Reservered.