Charging your car with solar panels
If you’re fortunate to have solar panels, have you considered charging your car with solar energy? If so, you're in luck. Solar powered charging stations are becoming increasingly popular and can be installed by our professionals. However, there are some things that you should know before choosing a charging station compatible with solar panels. In this article, we'll explore what the benefits of using solar-powered car chargers are, how much time they take to charge a vehicle battery and more.
What are the benefits of using solar compatible car chargers?
Other than harnessing free energy to power your vehicle, solar panels are an excellent source of renewable energy and can help reduce your carbon footprint.
Although in the UK it may not feel like it, the sun is always shining. So it makes sense that we would want to tap into this renewable resource. By using solar panels as an alternative form of energy, you're reducing your carbon footprint and helping out with pollution problems that may have been caused by fossil fuels in the past.
What should I consider when charging my car with solar energy?
Where your vehicle spends most of its day
Most importantly, you must consider where your vehicle is parked during sunlight hours. To gain maximum benefit from solar compatible charging stations, you would need your vehicle to be parked at home for most of the day. However, charging stations that are compatible with solar panels might also be compatible with battery storage units. If you choose a charging station that is compatible with both and have battery storage units too, you can plug in and power up from your battery when the sunlight is not available.
Summer vs Winter
Naturally, in the UK, Summer months contain more daylight and therefore more opportunity to harness the energy of the sun. Like we mentioned earlier, if you have battery storage units too, your vehicle doesn’t need to be parked on your drive all the time. Although, it is important to note that you will need to rely on the energy grid also to top up your vehicle. This will be more noticeable in the winter months.
Solar output limitations
If you have solar panels installed, you would have been given an estimate of how much energy your installation would generate or you have had solar panels for a while and know exactly how much energy they generate.
Consider you have an installation capable of generating 3,700 kWh per year. Also, although this will differ between summer and winter months, Statista research found that the UK average for daily sunlight in 2021 was 4.1 hours.
If we divide 3,700 kWH by 365 days to find the average daily generation (3,700 / 365 = 10.14 kWH)
To figure out hourly generation we can say 10.14 kWh divided by 4.1 daylight hours (10.14 / 4.1 = 2.47 kWH)
Your installation would roughly generate 2.47 kWH of energy per hour.
Now consider that EVs have batteries, sized between 18 kWH and 108+ KWH. To fully charge the batteries would take between 7 and 70 hours if you just relied on solar energy. This doesn’t include any usage in your home.
Battery storage output limitations
The average storage capacity of a home battery storage unit is 4 kWH. The charge stations we currently have on offer draw power at a rate of 7 kWh. This would mean that the energy stored within the battery would be consumed within around 35 minutes.
Get a professional to install a charging station in your home.
If you want to install a car charging station in your home, hire a professional. It's not as simple as plugging in an extension cord and hoping for the best. You need to buy a charger with an kWh rating suitable for your home, make sure it is compatible with your vehicle and add/alter a circuit in your property to power the charger. The best part about hiring someone to do this work for you is that they have experience with all of the above. Our installation partners are trained on all of the charge stations we offer as well as being approved by NICEIC or equivalent. If you’re ready to purchase, check out our range of charge stations.
Whilst solar panels only deliver a portion of what your vehicle needs, the contribution is free, clean and helps you to further reduce your carbon footprint. Solar compatible charge stations are competitively priced with those which are not. However, each charging station has its pros and cons and you might find a charging station which is not compatible with solar actually suits your needs more.