Since the beginning of 2020, people have been faced with a spectrum of personal challenges. First, the COVID-19 virus swept the globe, forcing us to change our routines to manage living in a pandemic. Next, shortages of supplies emerged, and soon after that, a labor shortage. Now, over two years later, these issues and uncertainty in world politics have caused gasoline prices to skyrocket.
With the average consumer spending $70 or more to fill their tank with gasoline, consumers are looking for more affordable transportation solutions. Electric cars and trucks (EVs) are on the top of many people’s lists. Along with the heightened demand for EVs, consumers ask if it’s feasible to power an electric car with solar panels.
Charging EVs with Solar Power
Yes, installing a charging station connected to a solar panel system is an excellent solution for EV owners. EVs can be re-powered using public charging stations or outlets already installed in home garages. For faster charging, owners can install dedicated EV charging stations, yet these still use the same electricity as the rest of the home and adds to the monthly utility bill. However, connecting a dedicated charging station to a solar panel network is an efficient way to power an EV affordably.
Tips for Powering an Electric Car with Solar Power
Homes using solar panels are still connected to the city’s electrical grid (unless the house is truly “off the grid.”) If the homeowner uses more electricity than their panels produce, the consumer receives a bill. If they generate more energy than they use, the excess goes to the electrical grid, and the homeowner receives a credit. EV owners can recharge their vehicles more affordably at different times of day depending on the arrangement each has with their respective utility company.
- Time-of-use (TOU) plans. Under a TOU plan, the price of electricity will change depending on the time of day and the season of the year. For solar homeowners who use more electricity than they generate, charging a car during off-peak hours will result in lower costs. It’s essential to understand the different prices for electricity and various times of the day because charging during off-peak hours may be impossible or may not result in substantial savings.
- Net billing plans. With a net billing plan, the homeowner will not receive full credit for excess solar energy produced and added to the city’s electrical grid. Instead, the credit will be at a wholesale rate which is substantially lower than the retail rate paid for electricity consumed. In this case, it’s important to charge the vehicle during the day when the solar panels create electricity.
- Net metering plans. Under a net metering plan, the amount of credit for excess solar generation is at the same rate as electricity used. In this case, it doesn’t matter when homeowners charge an EV because the impact on the utility bill will be the same.
Incentives Can Make a Solar Solution More Affordable
Yes, there are costs to install a solar panel system on your home and associated with purchasing an electric car or truck. To determine how much these innovations will cost and whether or not they will result in a positive return on investment for you, make sure you’re aware of any incentives available in your state or community.
You can easily find incentives for solar power and electric vehicle incentives available to you on DSIRE’s website. DSIRE is operated by the N.C.Clean Energy Technology Center and is the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies for energy efficiency in the United States.
Do you find the future of clean energy exciting?
So do we! The Rogue Valley Clean Cities Coalition’s mission is to enhance the livability of the Rogue Valley. We promote and educate on alternate fuels, seek to decrease dependency on petroleum, and promote clean air and water in the Rogue Valley via alternate fuels. Contact us today for more information!