As renewable energy sources gain momentum due to the threat of global warming, many electric vehicle (EV) owners are exploring the possibility of having a solar electric car charger installed at home, with many EV drivers asking – can you charge an EV with solar panels?
The answer, in its simplest form, is yes, you can charge your electric car with solar panels. In fact, using solar panels to charge electric cars can lower electricity bills and decrease your carbon footprint.
Keep reading to find out everything about solar electric car chargers, exploring the pros and cons of solar EV charging, considerations and practical steps involved in investing in a solar electric car charger.
Solar-powered electric vehicle (EV) charging offers several benefits for EV drivers, the environment and the grid. Here are the pros of solar EV charging:
As an electric vehicle driver, you’ll be aware of the environmental benefits of EVs over petrol and diesel cars – perhaps this was one of the reasons you switched to electric. But by charging your EV with solar, you can reduce your carbon footprint even further by topping up with clean, renewable solar energy instead of only using energy from the grid.
With the cost-of-living crisis in the UK, it’s no wonder people are searching for ways to cut down on bills, especially electricity costs. By investing in an EV solar charger, you’ll have to rely less on your electricity supplier and can top-up with solar-powered energy that you’ve generated for free – which is undoubtedly cheaper than solely using electricity from the National Grid.
Not only does installing an electric vehicle charger on your property increase its value (up by 13%), but installing solar panels will send your property’s value soaring further. In fact, solar panels are said to increase your house’s value by an average of £32,459 in the UK. Of course, this depends on a number of factors, including the size of the PV system and the location of the house.
Not only does a home EV charging point add value to your house, but with the addition of solar panels and a solar-compatible EV charger, your house’s value will skyrocket.
By utilising your solar energy, you can charge ‘off-grid’, meaning you’ll help distribute energy demand and put less strain on the grid.
First and foremost, to be able to charge your electric car with solar energy, you will need the following:
The size of the solar panel’s array will depend on how much energy you need to charge your EV. Simply put, the larger your EV battery, the more solar panels you will need to substantially charge your electric car.
On average, ten solar panels is the sweet spot to be able to charge your electric car with solar, with a minimum of at least eight. That being said, the number of solar panels required depends on a variety of factors, including how large your EV battery is, in addition to how much energy you are/will be using in the house. For example, it’s unlikely that eight solar panels will be enough for a Tesla Model 3.
There is no clear-cut answer as to how long it will take to charge an electric car with a solar EV charger. In actuality, a number of factors play a part in the charging speed of an electric car in general – but more so for solar EV charging. For example, charging time will depend on the size of your EV’s battery, how many solar panels you have installed on your property, and how much solar electricity you produce on a daily basis.
That being said, roughly, solar panels can generate anywhere between 1kW to 4kW at home, which for a smaller electric car, such as the Nissan Leaf, can charge your EV in 8-10 hours.
Yes, any electric vehicle can be charged with solar as long as you have the correct equipment (solar PV system and solar EV charger) – you don’t need a specific electric car model.
No, any solar PV system (as long as they include solar panels and an inverter) will work with all our smart solar chargers – you don’t need to invest in any specific infrastructure.
Battery storage does what it says on the tin – it’s a battery that stores excess energy inside, such as electricity generated from solar and wind. You can then use this saved energy at a later date instead of it being fed back into the National Grid.
For instance, you could store excess solar energy in your battery store that was harnessed during the day and then utilise that energy to charge your EV during the night (when you wouldn’t otherwise be able to charge with solar power). One of the most popular battery stores is the Tesla Powerwall.
In terms of home solar EV charging, the answer is no – you don’t need battery storage for it to work. With all solar electric car chargers, you can simply plug your EV in when your PV system is generating solar energy, and your EV will charge.
There are benefits to battery storage, though. For example, as previously mentioned, you cannot charge during the night with solar. So, to ensure the lowest carbon charging method, or if your preferred charging time is in the evening, you could save solar energy in a battery store and then use it at night. Alternatively, you could charge your battery storage with electricity generated from your solar panels every day, even when you don’t need to top up your EV. You could then use the saved energy when you desperately need to fully charge on another day. By storing excess energy, you decrease dependency on the Grid and become more self-sufficient too.
On the other hand, some solar electric car chargers can’t coordinate with battery storage, meaning you would only charge when plugged in and the sun is out. Battery storage can also be an expensive investment.
All in all, it’s a personal preference as to whether you invest in battery storage.
Yes, to charge your electric car with solar panels, you will need a solar-compatible EV charger.
Typically, if the charger is solar compatible, you will usually need to purchase an add-on to be able to charge with solar. On the other hand, if an EV charger is solar-ready, the unit is capable of charging your EV on its own, and an add-on cost isn’t needed for it to do so.
Having tried and tested multiple solar electric vehicle chargers, we feel the best EV chargers for solar panels are the VCHRGD Seven and the Zappi. The VCHRGD places top in terms of being the best EV charger for solar panels based on cost. On the other hand, the Zappi is the number one charger if you value more complex solar EV charging.
The benefits of solar electric car chargers– cheaper and cleaner energy, especially – make investing in a solar charger worthwhile. Moreover, except for the Zappi, you wouldn’t need to break the bank by choosing a home EV charger with solar capabilities over one that doesn’t. Why? Typically, EV chargers with solar integration are around the same price as others without (for example, the VCHRGD Seven).
To fully access everything the Zappi has to offer, you would need to invest in their range of products, such as the Eddi and the Harvi, which add up quickly. So, unless you want to charge with wind-generated power or you want to divert excess energy back into your heating systems, other solar chargers will do the job at a cheaper cost.
Of course, you’ll need a solar PV system at home for solar EV charging to work. With this in mind, if you don’t have a solar PV system, it would be a hefty investment and need further deliberation. That being said, by investing in a solar unit for the same price, you are guaranteed a future-proof unit, so if you decide to invest in solar panels in the future, you are good to go.
Despite the fact that your solar PV system will still take energy during grey or cloudy weather, you’re more likely to generate electricity when the sun is at its brightest. And, of course, you’ll need to take into consideration that your EV won’t charge overnight with solar unless you invest in a battery storage system. So, manage your expectations, as you won’t be able to charge your EV with solar energy whenever you want.
The initial cost of a solar PV system is in the thousands. The exact cost depends on a number of factors, including what kW system you go for, but a 4kW solar PV system costs somewhere between £6,000-8,000. In terms of solar EV chargers, they typically have a similar cost to their non-solar counterparts, so it’s only the high cost of the solar PV system that you need to think about.
Solar PV systems need to generate a minimum of 1.4kW above that required to power your home in order to charge your EV. Be mindful that if you want to charge frequently with solar energy, you need to have a sufficient number of solar panels. In our opinion, we’d recommend supplementing the rest of your EV charge with power from the grid on the days when your solar-generated energy is lacking, especially in the winter months.
We offer a wide range of market-leading EV chargers, including solar electric car chargers. Browse our solar car chargers, or, alternatively, if you have a solar car charger in mind, contact a member of our team directly on 03333 44 96 99 or fill in the contact form below. Our expert customer service team are available to offer free, unbiased advice seven days a week, including bank holidays.
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This type of electric charger has it's own cable to charge your car.
This type of electric charger requires a seperate cable to charge your car.
Spread over a 60 month period.
Tenants and homeowners are eligible for finance.
You decide the amount of months.
Minimum of £1000.
We will contact you to process the credit application. Approval is subject to application, financial circumstances and borrowing history. 13.9% APR representative. T&Cs apply.
Your order is not confirmed until your application has been approved.
We lay SWA cable laid at 600mm deep, with a protective cable warning tape laid 150mm above the cable. These are laid on a sand or sifted sand soil bed then backfilled.
We position overhead cables at a minimum height of 3.5m and are run along a catenary wire. The cable run should not be accessible to vehicles.
Our instant price is fixed if it falls within our standard installation package plus any additions that you have selected (extra cabling for example). This package covers the majority of homes in the UK. Before we undertake your installation we will carry out a digital survey to check that nothing has been missed. After reviewing the survey results some additional work may be required in order to complete your installation safely and to the required standards. If this is the case, we will contact you well before the installation date and advise the cost of any required work. You can then continue with your installation, or alternatively we will refund you in full if you do not want to proceed.
Included in our standard installation is :
• Fitting of a single phase charge point to a brick or plaster wall or other suitable permanent structure
• Up to 10 metres of cable, run and neatly clipped to the wall between the electricity supply meter / distribution board and the charge point.
• Routing of the cable through a drilled hole in a wall up to 500mm (20 inches) thick if this is needed.
• The fitting and testing of electrical connections and protections required for the charge point.
• An additional three way consumer unit, if required
• Installation of a Type A RCBO in an RCBO enclosure
• Up to 3 metres of plastic trunking to conceal interior wiring.
• An O-pen earth protection device if the charge point requires it. (This is NOT an earth rod)
• Up to 4 hours of labour from your installer to complete the work.
• Electrical testing of the whole installation.
• Handover and setup of the charge point and any app that may be needed.
Not included in our standard installation (additional work) :
• Where the installation requires additional cabling over and above the amount you have told us about.
• Upgrade/replacement of the main incoming supply fuse where the local DNO (eg Northern Powergrid) would need to attend site.
• If the charge point is to be mounted on a post/pedestal rather than an existing wall and where you have not selected a post as an extra cost option in your order.
• Installation of a charge point to a three phase supply.
• Where gas and water mains bonding (earthing) is not in place at your property. If this is not in place, additional work would be required before installation of the charge point.
• Any groundwork that has not been selected during the order process.
A Surge Protection Device is not included in our standard installation.
What else you need to know :
• On the day of installation, please ensure that the area around your consumer unit (fuse box), incoming electricity supply meter and proposed charge point location (including where the cable is expected to be run) is clear and free of obstructions.
• We will need your WiFi password as part of the installation process in order to connect your charge point to the internet. Please have this available for the installer. Details will not be kept.
• The charge point must be on your own designated off road parking.
• The charger will be fixed in line with current guidelines at a height where it cannot be hit by a vehicle.
• Our installers are not able to enter loft spaces; lift floorboards or flooring; take apart any furniture of work above a height of 2m. If you anticipate that any of this may be required, then please contact us and we can discuss in more detail and provide you with a quotation.
• Should there be extreme weather conditions our installers may not be able to continue with you installation if it is not safe to do so (for example flooding). They will always do their best to complete the work where they can.
If you have any questions then please contact our customer service team who will be happy to help. Please also read our terms and conditions.