Solar Panels and EV Stations: The Prevalence of Solar-Powered EV Charging Stations
November 18, 2021
Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly common as the world learns more about climate change and renewable energy. And with electric cars comes the need to charge them. Here’s what Freedom Solar has to say on the topic of solar-powered EV charging stations.
What Is an EV Station?
An electric vehicle (EV) station is also known as an EV charger, EV supply equipment, or EV charging station for electric vehicles to “refuel”. EV stations consist of a piece of equipment that supplies electric power through a plug-in device to charge your electric vehicle.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the United States alone has about 43,000 public EV charging stations and around 120,000 charging ports. The majority of these are Level 2 chargers.
Additionally, there are over 300 EV charging companies across the globe. North America is home to one third of them.
Nevertheless, electric vehicles 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 EV charging stations.
Colorado, Utah, the Pacific Northwest, and the Northeast have expanded their number of charging stations on a per-capita basis due to new EV-supportive policies.
Where Do EV Stations Source Their Energy?
How EV stations source energy is dependent on their location and owners. The energy sources are sometimes different for public and residential charging stations.
You’ll have more control over where you source your energy if you have your own EV station at home. This energy independence gives you the freedom to use electrical power from your home, which is either connected to the city’s grid or 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%), 20% is nuclear, and the remainder is from wind, hydro, and solar. Solar energy ranks the lowest at 2%.
However, some public charging stations have solar panels placed atop for sourcing renewable energy directly.
[Related: Are Solar Panels Worth It?]
How Do Solar Panels Connect to EV Stations?
Electric cars are a great step toward a cleaner, more sustainable way of living compared to gas-powered vehicles. However, 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 solar panel system are all wired together to create an electrical circuit and current flow. Your solar panel system needs to connect to an inverter in order for generated direct current (DC) power to convert into alternating current (AC) power.
Here are some simple steps to charge your electric vehicle with your own solar panels:
- Determine how many kilowatts per hour (kWh) you’ll need to power your car considering your driving habits.
- Determine how many solar panels you’ll need to provide your 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 that will draw electricity to your electric vehicle.
The Future of Solar-Powered EV Charging Stations
Most people are weary of electric vehicles’ inconvenience or the inability to charge their cars when away from home.
To assuage 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.
Additionally, the president of General Motors (GM) announced a dealer community charging program planned for 2022 that’s sponsored by the U.S. Travel Association. The program is part of GM’s commitment to give $750 million to EV charging infrastructure in order to change the way people commute and travel in the future.
This initiative will spark around 40,000 EV charger installations across the U.S. and Canada. What’s more, it will give their 4,500 auto dealers 10 Level 2 chargers to put in areas such as college campuses, sports and music venues, apartment complexes, and more.
Programs like this one will certainly spark widespread awareness on the importance of environmental sustainability. We hope to see more electric vehicles, EV charging stations, and solar-powered EV charging stations, specifically, as a result.
Contact Freedom Solar to Start Harnessing Solar Energy
For more information about Freedom Solar and our SunPower solar panels, or to begin acquiring them for your home or business, contact us today. Call +1 (800) 504-2377 to speak with one of our energy consultants or request a quote through our inquiry form.
Featured image via Unsplash