How Much Solar Power Do You Need to Power A Tesla/Electric Car?

A Regular Question At Solar Is The Future - Answered.

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A Common Question – Answered.

Having the ability to power your Tesla or electric car via solar panels is truly a symbol of our modern age.

These technological advancements have allowed us to power our vehicles via renewable energy so we may function as a society without degrading our planet.

Electric vehicles and solar power is a power-couple. They’re becoming an increasingly popular duo amongst those who use electric vehicles because they take eco-friendliness to the next level without sacrificing the functionality of your car.

As the cost of solar power falls rapidly, it becomes more and more accessible to consumers. This will make powering electric vehicles via solar much more popular in the years to come.

 Which brings the question, how much solar power do you need to power a Tesla or electric car?

Lucky for you, the answers lie within the article.

How Many Solar Panels Does it Take to Charge an Electric Car?

Solar power is most commonly gained by the use of solar panels that are integrated into a solar power system. This system works through complex functions and converts sunlight into usable AC electricity.

Before you can venture out and charge your electric care with solar panels, you’ll need to address how large of a solar power system you’re going to need.

Cars are measured by kilowatt-hours (kWh) instead of the mile-per-gallon (MPG) that is used by traditional vehicles.

The Environmental Protection Agency will give each vehicle different rates. Look up the rating for your vehicle to find out how much power will be required to charge it.

Take this information and meet with a solar installer to design a solar panel system that will generate enough energy to power your vehicle.

As an example, a Tesla Model S has a battery with a 75 kWh capacity. An average 250w solar power generates roughly 35 kWh o AC power in one month.

Low output solar panels produce approximately 1kWh per day of AC power for electricity purposes. In this scenario, you’ll need about 75 solar panels to be able to charge your electric vehicle.

However, you’re not going to be using all of that energy within a single day. If you’re driving around 30 miles per day, you can safely get 12 solar panels to charge your vehicle. This is a conservative estimate, but can easily be done.

How to Charge Electric Cars with Solar Panels

Luckily, technology has given us a plethora of ways to charge electric vehicles. That includes solar panels.

If your home is equipped with solar panels, you can easily charge your vehicle using a home charging unit and a PV inverter unit. This unit will convert solar energy into DC for your vehicle to use.

These systems will either need to be purchased or made by yourself. It’s typically recommended that you get bids from multiple installers, but a handyman with some background experience won’t have much issue creating a DIY solar EV charging station.

Consider the cost before you undertake this adventure, solar panels can be moderately expensive still to the average Joe. While they typically pay off in the long term, you need to ensure that your home is suitable for solar energy.

Many factors of your home will determine whether solar power is right for you.

Ideally, you want a southward facing roof for maximum sunlight exposure and to live in an area that receives abundant sunshine throughout the year, or at certain points in the year. Common areas in the U.S where solar power is popular include the southwest as well as the northeast.

Home Solar EV Charging Stations

Home Solar EV charging stations are tools that take the sunlight that your solar panels are receiving and convert it to DC electricity.

This type of electricity is different than AC, which is typically used to power household appliances and other common electrical things. However, your electric vehicle is going to require DC so having one of these stations is essential.

Once you’ve set up your solar panel system on the roof of your home, you’ll want installers to bring in this charging station. Electric vehicles are typically charged by solar power quite yet, so this will be an extra purchase when considering implementing a solar panel system.

Tesla is on the job though, with the upcoming release of their Powerwall 2.

This large battery is designed to take in solar power throughout the day and use that energy to power household appliances.

So, How Many Solar Panels To Charge a Tesla Powerwall?

There are many variables to consider, but the short answer is around 18 to 20 panels to charge the Tesla Powerwall in a day.

The maximum capacity of a Power wall is 13.5 kWh. If we take an average of six hours of sunshine per day with an average amount of solar radiation, it can be found that approximately 5.6kW of solar panels will be needed.

If we operate under the assumption that your panels will have a 300-watt rating, we arrive at a needed number of 18 to 20 panels to charge the Tesla Powerwall.

A good example would be finding out how many solar panels to charge a Tesla Powerwall are required.

DIY Solar EV Charging Stations

While solar power is decreasing in cost, it’s no secret that it can still be quite expensive.

Most of this expense is upfront and comes with installation costs. This can become a problem when installing a solar panel system and when wanting to install an EV charging station for an electric vehicle.

If you’re tight on a budget, don’t fret. You can install a DIY solar EV charging station with relative ease.

Here’s how you do it:

The Materials

The materials needed to build a solar charging station are relatively simple and easy to get. You’ll need a way to generate power, store the power, convert the power, and the cables to connect it all.

Most of these are available from Amazon or local retailers. Here’s the list:

  • Portable solar panels
  • One black and one red solar cable
  • A Solar controller
  • An inverter
  • Batteries
  • Battery cables

After you have all the required materials, you’ll need to begin the construction process.

Putting It All Together

Gather your materials and get ready to build. It’s a relatively simple process that handymen can do rather quickly.

1. Mount Your Solar Panels

Ideally, you’ll want to use a metal frame as a structural mount for your charging station. At least if you want it to be semi-permanent.

2. Place the Batteries

This step may be a little trickier than simply mounting the solar panels. They will need to be in a dry location with the temperature-controlled. Of course, they should also be out of harm’s way and in a safe spot where nothing will disrupt or damage them.

Ensure that they’re secured in a vehicle or safely carried in a sealed container whenever you’re transporting them.

3. Bring in the Solar Controller

The solar controller will also need to be in a relatively safe spot, but you’ll also want it to be easily accessible.

This is what will tell you how much electricity is being generated and other data measurements.

This includes how much of your battery is being drained, how full the collection of batteries is, and other helpful points. Make sure this is easily within reach so you’ll be able to adjust and monitor it effectively.

4. Bring It All Together

Once you have everything in place, it’ll be time to connect it all using the cables you’ve bought.

You’ll need to use parallel or serial wiring. It will depend on the amount of amperage and voltage that you require, which will depend on how strong your battery needs to be.

The converter also comes into play here as you can connect it to the controller.

Is One Solar Panel Enough to Charge My Electric Vehicle?

While it may be possible, it’s not practical to charge your electric vehicle with solar power from one solar panel.

It simply requires too much electricity and your singular solar panel won’t produce enough electricity to consistently run your vehicle. Over time, it will be able to charge it. However, if you’re a daily or even weekly user of your vehicle, it will be ineffective.

Portable Solar Chargers for Teslas

Charging a Tesla with a portable solar charger quickly become a popular question with the emergence of the new technology.

Unfortunately, the simple answer is no, a portable solar charger can’t effectively charge a Tesla or electric vehicle. That doesn’t mean it won’t always be that way, but science hasn’t gotten us there yet.

Interestingly, having a portable EV charger for electric vehicles is a relatively new addition to the industry. This means that there is hope for a portable solar power charger for Teslas, but the technology is far off.

We can hope for one day.

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