How Solar Panels Can Charge Your Electric Car

We had the lovely opportunity to collaborate with Walk Score - a company that promotes a healthy environment and sustainability by emphasizing the importance of walkable neighborhoods. A special thanks to Bailey Chauner for being our guest blogger this week and creating a blog post that discusses the benefits of solar.

Solar panels are becoming more accessible, powerful, and offer a wider range of uses than ever before. One of today’s most popular solar panel uses is to charge an electric car. Today we are answering your frequently asked questions about how solar panels charge an electric car, how much money you can save, and other financial incentives.

How do solar panels work to charge an electric car?

If a home has a solar panel installation that supplies your home with power, then an electric car can use that electricity. After your solar panels are installed you’ll need two things:

  1. Solar Inverter - converts solar energy into electric current

  2. Charging Port- installed outside your house and transfers the electric power to your car better

Today, there are even charging ports that have a solar inverter inside of them. After that, you’re all set. Simply plug in the car and charge the battery with energy generated by your home’s solar panels.


How many solar panels do you need to charge an electric car?

There isn’t an exact ratio for how many solar panels are needed to charge an electric vehicle. Variables include the type of electric car, how much you drive, how much sun your home receives, and amount of power generated by the solar panels. However, we can make a general estimate.

Typically, a 250 watt solar panel will produce around 1 to 1.4 kWh per day. To put that into perspective, the average electric vehicle uses .3 kWh to travel 1 mile. The average driver travels 29 miles per day and would require 8.7 kWh to power their car.

Therefore, if you plan on only driving 29 miles per day, you’ll need around 9 solar panels to provide 8.7 kWh to power the car daily. If you plan on driving more, the size of your car’s battery will determine how many panels you need to provide a full charge. For example, if you own a Nissan Leaf which has a 30kWh battery, then to completely charge it every 24 hours, you’ll need approximately 30 solar panels.

Like we mentioned, there are a handful of variables that impact how many solar panels you will need to power your car. It’s best to discuss this with a professional from Verisolar to give you a more accurate estimate.

What is the cost to charge an electric car with solar power?

The average residential electricity rates in Texas is $0.11 per kwH. Using the example above, to drive 29 miles per day (8.7kWh) would cost $.95 per day. That’s about $30 per month to charge your car each month.

To put that in perspective - a gas powered car that receives 30 miles to the gallon, driving 29 miles per day with gas that $3 a gallon ends up costing you $90 per month.

Are there other financial incentives to utilizing solar panels aside from lower utility bills?

Absolutely! The most impactful incentive is the 30% Federal Tax Credit that is applied to the total cost of your solar panel system. Looking long-term, a study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that installing solar panels to a home adds an average of $20,000 to the home’s value. Solar panels can provide financial incentive to buyers because of their ability to lower utility bills. Real estate brokerages also realize customer’s peaked interest in green homes often offer a filter to show all homes for sale with green features, like solar panels.

If you’re interested in solar panel options for your home or have further questions, let us help! You can contact us at (281) 606-2090 or