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Is Solar Energy Efficient for EV Charging Stations?

Emiley Edward's picture
Business Head Aravind Tech

Writer and Researcher, Marketing Consultant, Digital Marketing and Business head.

  • Member since 2022
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  • May 19, 2022
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Electric Vehicles (EVs) make up a significant percentage of reliable means of transport today. Most automotive companies have a client base in different locations around the world, so they are developing EV and plug-in hybrids, and we can expect to see the uptake rate of EVs increasing within the next few years.

A significant number of potential vehicle buyers would love to own an electric vehicle, but range anxiety, price, and charging options are viable concerns that hold them back. Fortunately, the cost of EVs is dropping, making them accessible to a wider range of people. This, plus the benefit of low maintenance and the low running costs compared to diesel-run or petrol-run engines makes EVs an interesting and achievable purchase for regular buyers. When it comes to charging, the main issue of concern is the efficiency of the available charging options.

Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Options

There are three levels of EV chargers:

  1. Level 1: a basic portable charger that can be plugged into any ordinary 10A socket. It comes standard with most EVs. Charges up to 2.4kW.
  2. Level 2: compact wall-mounted chargers that are permanently installed in homes or businesses. Generally requires a 32A supply and charge from 5kW up to 22kW.
  3. Level 3: very powerful, large, fast chargers generally found at roadside EV charging stations from 50kW up to 300kW.

If you have solar power installed at your home or business, it is only natural to wonder whether your rooftop solar system is compatible with your EV. Basically, level 1 chargers can be plugged into any ordinary 10A power socket, and level 2 chargers can be installed at your home or business with or without rooftop solar.

How Efficient Is Solar Energy for EV Charging?

There are some factors that affect the efficiency of solar energy for EV charging. i.e. the EV battery capacity, the solar system size, how far you drive, and the amount of sun available in your area of residence. When it comes to EV charging from home, the more solar, the better. However, unless you are driving more than 80km per day, EV charging from a regular rooftop solar system will suffice.

Actual charging time varies based on the battery level, weather conditions, and the type of EV charger you are using. The more powerful the charger, the faster your EV will recharge. When charging your EV, you cannot utilize the full grid capacity because it will limit you from using any other electrical household appliances. However, your EV charger has a limit to 32A or around 7kW which is sufficient unless you would like to fast charge your EV. If you wish to have higher charging rates, you can do so by using an EV charger with a load balancing function that monitors your household consumption and adjusts your charging rate accordingly.

Electricity prices are constantly on the rise, and in the next 10 to 25 years, the prices may dramatically increase. To a certain extent, the use of public charging stations is also inevitable if you have an EV. Although there are free EV charging stations, most people pay a lot of money for the electricity they need to fast charge their EV while on the road. Solar charging maybe a chap yet efficient way to charge your EV and limit your electricity bill to the minimum for an EV owner.

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on May 19, 2022

Solar is great to contribute to the EV charging infrastructure, so long as it's also tied to the grid! The best use cases I imagine would be if the land for the chargers was well suited for solar specifically (perhaps like a solar canopy). Are you seeing that impacting whether solar is used in coordination with EV charging? 

Emiley Edward's picture
Emiley Edward on May 20, 2022

Yes, we haven't seen many reviews on whether Solar Energy is Efficient for EV Charging Stations. 

Jim Stack's picture
Jim Stack on May 20, 2022

Solar pvis very efficient for electric vehicle charging. A great fact is that about 50% of electric vehicle owners also have solar. My home GRID tied system has been charging my Chevy spark ev for 6 years. It also covers my home use and I still make over 1,000 extra kWh that I get paid for.

    Tesla has solar and battery storage at many of their Super Charger locations.

   My new aptera.us I have on order is so efficient it has 700 watts of solar cells right on it to make 20 to 50 miles added range just parked in the sun. They work together perfectly. Mine can go 400 miles on a charge. They also offer 600 or 1,000 miles range options. 

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