How Many Solar Panels Do You Need for EVs?

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How Many Solar Panels Do You Need for EVs?

Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming increasingly popular in the U.S. and around the world for their environmental and performance benefits as manufacturers launch plug-in EV models across their fleets. And whether you own an EV or are interested in purchasing one, there’s a fair chance you’ll be in the market for a home charging port for your EV battery as well. 

There are fewer public charging stations on the road than traditional gas stations. As such, it’s reasonable to want to buy one that is readily available for use at your residence. It’s convenient and, in some cases, necessary.

Most home charging ports source energy from the electric grid. However, it’s possible — and much more sustainable — to source energy from solar panels instead. Attaching solar panels to your EV charging port at home will save you significant money since some EVs require a large amount of electricity to fully charge. 

Here we’ll take a look at how different types of EV batteries (and their battery sizes), as well as your solar panels’ efficiency, determine the number of panels you’ll need to charge your car. 

What Size Is Your EV’s Battery?

You need to determine the capacity of your EV’s battery before you can see how much electricity is needed to fully charge it. EV battery capacities are measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh) and range anywhere between 17.6 kWh and 200 kWh

The five EVs with the highest battery capacities include the following:

  1. GMC Hummer EV: 200 kWh battery with 329 to 350 miles of range
  2. Rivian R1T and R1S: 135 kWh battery with 314 miles of range for the R1T, and 316 miles of range for the R1S
  3. Lucid Air: 118 kWh battery with 520 miles of range
  4. Mercedes-Benz EQS: 115 kWh battery with 350 miles of range
  5. Tesla Model S and Model X: 100 kWh battery with 387 to 520 miles of range for the Model S, and 335 to 371 miles of range for the Model X

Ask your dealership for the most up to date information if you’re unsure how to determine the battery capacity of your current EV, or one you are looking to purchase. Once you know the EV’s battery capacity, you can then calculate the amount of electricity needed to charge it.

The size and efficiency of your solar panels will determine the number of them you need to generate an appropriate energy supply for your EV battery.

Does Solar Panel Efficiency Matter?

The number of solar panels you need to power your EV as well as your home depends on:

  • The manufacturer and type of solar panels you choose
  • How much sunlight is in your area
  • Your home and driving energy usage

Some solar panels are more efficient than others, so you won’t need as many to meet your energy needs. SunPower solar panels are the best choice on the market for efficiency — their A-Series panels have an efficiency of 22.80%. 

The top companies for the best residential solar panels include the following:

  • SunPower
  • LG Solar
  • REC Group
  • Panasonic
  • Silfab
  • Q Cells
  • Canadian Solar
  • JinkoSolar
  • Trina Solar

[Related: Who Makes the Best Solar Panels?]

How Many Solar Panels Do You Need to Charge Your EV?

A typical solar panel is 250 watts and will generate about 30 to 42.5 kWh of energy on a monthly basis. On the lower end of that, you’ll be making about one kWh of energy per day. This means you’d need around 75 solar panels to charge a Tesla model S to 100% every day if it starts at 0%. Your EV likely won’t be as low as 0% every time you charge it, making this a conservative estimate.

If you install high-efficiency SunPower panels, which are rated up to 420 watts per panel, you could generate up to 54 kWh of energy per month or 1.8 kWh per day, which means you would only need 42 panels

The average travel distance for a driver is 39 miles per day, equating to about 12 kWh of electricity. As such, you’ll need 12 solar panels (that have standard efficiency) for your charging needs.

However, if you drive less than the average 39 miles per day and own more efficient solar panels, you’ll need fewer than 12 panels for your EV charging needs. Investing in high-quality, efficient solar panels is better in the long run. 

Additionally, the average home in the U.S. requires between 19 and 34 solar panels to fully cover electric bills. You should expect this number of panels to increase with the addition of an EV to charge. 

[Related: What to Know Before Installing Solar Panels]

Contact Freedom Solar to Power Your EV With Solar Energy

EVs are a booming trend that shows no signs of slowing down. With better accessibility to renewable energy sources, and knowledge on the benefits of sustainable living, we’ll certainly see an increasing number of EVs on the road in the future.

Using solar energy as your EV power source is an additional step worth taking to live green. 

If you’re interested in installing solar panels at your home or business to connect to your charging port, contact Freedom Solar today. Call +1 (800) 504-2337 or complete our online inquiry form to begin your free consultation.

Featured image via Unsplash

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Willie Nelson for Freedom Solar

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