Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming more popular as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save money on fuel. However, charging an EV still requires electricity, which may come from fossil fuels or renewable sources. One of the most promising renewable sources is solar energy, which can be harnessed by installing solar panels on your property or using public charging stations powered by solar farms. In this blog post, we will explore the benefits and challenges of EV charging with solar energy, and provide some tips on how to do it efficiently and effectively.
How can solar energy charge EVs?
Solar energy can charge EVs by converting sunlight into power through solar panels. This power can then be used to recharge the electric car’s battery. The process involves installing a solar photovoltaic (PV) system, which captures the sun’s energy and converts it into usable electricity. This renewable energy source can be used immediately to charge the electric vehicle or stored in batteries for later use.
What is a PV system and how does it work?
A photovoltaic (PV) system is a type of renewable energy technology that converts sunlight into electricity using photovoltaic cells. These cells are made of semiconductor materials, such as silicon, which absorb photons from sunlight and release electrons, creating an electric current.
The PV cells are arranged in panels, which are connected to an inverter that converts the direct current (DC) electricity produced by the cells into alternating current (AC) electricity that can be used to power homes and businesses.
A typical photovoltaic (PV) system is composed of six main components: the solar PV array, charge controller, battery bank, inverter, utility meter, and electric grid. Together, these components work to collect and convert solar energy into usable electricity. The image below shows how the six components of a photovoltaic (PV) system work together to collect and convert solar energy into usable electricity.
The benefits of EV charging with solar energy
Reduced Energy Costs
Installing solar panels allows you to generate electricity from the sun, which is far cheaper than using fossil fuels or buying power from the grid.
Let’s say a typical solar panel in North America produces about 300-400 W. If we install a 2 kWp PV system (kilowatt peak, maximum power under best conditions), which would require an area of about 12-14 m2, it could produce approximately 2,500 kWh of solar power per year. With this amount of energy, we could fully charge a Tesla Model 3 about 10 times, providing a driving range of approximately 6,000 km, with an average consumption of 21 kWh per 100 km.
The expansion of renewable energy production is in the best interest of governments worldwide to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. In answer to that, many countries offer subsidies and grant schemes to individuals and businesses to install both PV systems and EV charging infrastructure.
For example, in the US, the Federal Solar Tax Credit allows customers to deduct 26% of the cost of installing a solar energy system from their federal taxes. For example, if your PV system costs $10,000, you can reduce your tax liability by a whopping $2,600.
The EU also supports solar energy through measures such as making the installation of solar panels on the rooftops of new buildings obligatory within a specific timeframe, streamlining permitting procedures for renewable energy projects, improving the skills base in the solar sector and boosting EU’s the capacity to manufacture photovoltaic panels.
Reduced Dependence on the Grid
Installing an onsite solar system with battery storage provides greater flexibility in energy usage. Typically, solar production follows a pattern of starting in the morning, peaking at midday, and declining as the sun sets. However, with battery storage, any excess energy generated during peak hours can be stored and used to meet energy needs during periods of lower solar production. This reduces or eliminates the need to draw electricity from the grid, resulting in cost savings and a lower carbon footprint.
By utilizing battery storage, businesses can optimize their energy usage and reduce their reliance on traditional energy sources. This gives you backup power when the grid fails, and lets you charge your electric car even during a blackout.
Here are some of the environmental benefits of using solar energy to charge your EV:
- Does not emit greenhouse gases or pollutants
- Reduces carbon footprint and fossil fuel dependence
- Has zero production costs and low energy loss
- Has minimal environmental disruption
How to Charge your car with solar power?
To charge an electric vehicle (EV) with solar power, you will need to install a solar photovoltaic (PV) system. Here are the steps to follow:
- Install a solar PV system: This involves installing solar panels on your roof or in a ground-mounted system that captures sunlight and converts it into electricity.
- Connect the solar PV system to an inverter: The inverter converts the direct current (DC) electricity produced by the solar panels into alternating current (AC) electricity that can be used to charge an EV.
- Install an EV charger: You will need to install an EV charger that is compatible with your vehicle and can be connected to the AC power produced by the solar PV system.
- Connect the EV charger to the inverter: The EV charger should be connected to the inverter so that it can receive AC power from the solar PV system and charge your EV’s battery.
- Monitor your system: It is important to monitor your solar PV system and EV charger to ensure they are working properly and efficiently.
Charging electric vehicles (EVs) with solar power is becoming increasingly popular and is supported by government regulations in some countries. For instance, the Renewable Energy Act in France mandates that public car parks with over 80 parking spaces install photovoltaic (PV) systems or face severe penalties.
EN Plus offers PV EV charging solutions that provide a sustainable and cost-effective way to charge your EV. PV systems are environmentally friendly and can help reduce your electricity costs. Additionally, they can ensure that your EV’s battery is consistently charged and ready to use.
By utilizing PV systems to charge EVs, we can reduce our reliance on traditional energy sources and lower our carbon footprint. This provides a sustainable solution for meeting our transportation needs while contributing to the global effort to combat climate change.