Solar Panels and EV Stations: The Prevalence of Solar-Powered EV Charging Stations
November 18, 2021
Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming increasingly common as the world learns more about climate change and renewable energy. And with EVs comes the need to charge them. Here’s what we at solar panel company Freedom Solar have to say on the topic of solar-powered EV charging stations.
What Is an EV Station?
An EV station is also known as an EV charger, EV supply equipment or EV charging station for EVs to “refuel.” EV stations consist of a piece of equipment that supplies electric power through a plug-in device to charge an EV.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. alone has about 43,000 public EV charging stations and around 120,000 charging ports. Most of these are Level 2 chargers.
Additionally, there are more than 300 EV charging companies across the globe. North America is home to one-third of them.
Nevertheless, EVs and EV charging stations are still a relatively new idea to most households. As word continues to spread in coming years, you can expect to see a major increase in the number of EV charging stations.
Colorado, Utah, the Pacific Northwest and the Northeast have expanded their number of EV charging stations on a per-capita basis because of new EV-supportive policies.
Where Do EV Stations Source Energy?
Where EV stations source energy depends on their location and owner. The energy sources are sometimes different for public and residential charging stations.
You’ll have more control over where you source energy if you have your own EV station at home. This energy independence gives you the freedom to use electrical power from your house, which is connected either to the city’s grid or to alternative sources such as a solar panel system.
Public Charging Stations
Public charging stations typically source energy from the grid. The majority of America’s power supply comes from natural gas and coal (around 59%), and 20% is nuclear. The remainder is from wind, hydro and solar, and solar energy ranks lowest at 2%.
However, some public charging stations have solar panels atop them for sourcing renewable energy directly.
[Related: Are Solar Panels Worth It?]
How Do Solar Panels Connect to EV Stations?
EVs are a great step toward a cleaner, more sustainable way of living compared to gas-powered vehicles. But their energy sourcing isn’t the greenest. Using solar technology to power EV charging stations is a great way to be more environmentally friendly.
The panels in a home solar installation are all wired together to create an electrical circuit and current flow. Your solar panel system needs to connect to an inverter for generated direct current (DC) power to convert to alternating current (AC) power.
Here are some simple steps to charge your EV with your own solar panels:
- Determine how many kilowatts per hour (kWh) you need to power your EV, considering your driving habits.
- Determine how many solar panels you need to provide the required kWh.
- Find the right company and purchase your solar equipment, including a solar panel system and a solar inverter.
- Find the right company and purchase a Level 2 charger to draw electricity to your EV.
The Future of Solar-Powered EV Charging Stations
Most people are weary of EVs’ inconvenience or the inability to charge their cars when away from home.
To ease these concerns, the Biden administration is looking to Congress to fund half a million new EV chargers for areas spanning the nation. Many auto manufacturers are beginning to create their own chargers, as well.
The president of General Motors (GM) also announced a dealer community charging program, planned for 2022. The U.S. Travel Association will sponsor the program, which is part of GM’s commitment to give $750 million to EV charging infrastructure to change the way people commute and travel in the future.
This initiative will spark about 40,000 EV charger installations across the U.S. and Canada. Plus, it will give GM’s 4,500 auto dealers 10 Level 2 chargers to put in areas such as college campuses, sports and entertainment venues, and apartment complexes.
Programs like this one will certainly boost awareness of the importance of environmental sustainability. We hope to see more EVs and EV charging stations — specifically solar-powered EV charging stations — as a result.
Contact Freedom Solar to Start Harnessing Solar Energy
For more information about solar power installers Freedom Solar and our SunPower solar panels or to begin acquiring them for your commercial or home solar installation, contact us today. Call (800) 504-2377 to speak with one of our energy consultants or request a quote through our inquiry form.
Looking to maintain, repair or upgrade your solar system? Our solar repair and maintenance service department can help you obtain maximum energy production and efficiency.
Featured image via Unsplash