Recharging electric vehicles with solar energy
Replacing a fossil-fuel car with an electric car with zero exhaust emissions is a big step towards a greener lifestyle, but if you power it from the grid, you are generally using fossil fuel-based electricity (although a growing number of energy providers are using renewable technologies).
However, you can further reduce carbon emissions if you generate your own electricity from a solar photovoltaic system.
A solar photovoltaic system will provide you with a free, renewable source of electricity for your home and car. Therefore, the initial expense of installing solar panels can be seen as purchasing power for years to come!
Solar panels will only produce electricity during the day to charge your electric vehicle. When you and your car are at home during the day, the solar photovoltaic system charges your car directly. However, if you are one of the many people who are home during the day, you will not benefit from most of the free electricity your panels produce.
In order to charge your car at night, you will also need to install a solar battery to store excess solar energy (the energy you have not used) so that you can use it at night.
How many solar panels are needed to charge an electric vehicle?
Every home and lifestyle is unique, but it is perfectly possible for a solar panel system to power a home and electric car using a few average figures for energy consumption, solar panel capacity and mileage travelled.
The British winter brings low levels of sunshine, which often means that your solar panels are not able to produce enough energy to meet all your energy needs. During these times you will need energy from a supplier, but your solar panels will continue to produce electricity.
How much could you save with solar panels and an electric vehicle?
If you continue to follow the average figures (5kW PV system, energy consumption of 9kWh and driving 36 miles a day), you can save over £2,500 in electricity and fuel by replacing a 35mpg diesel car with a solar-powered home grid.
A solar-powered electric vehicle could save 1,950 pounds a year in fuel, while a house powered by solar energy instead of the electricity grid could save 509 pounds. This represents a total annual saving of £2,459.
In addition, if your solar panels have been installed and accepted into the feed-in tariff (FiT) before 31 March 2019, you will receive payments for 20 years for the energy produced by your solar panels.
Transport is now the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the UK. And this is where it gets very exciting for people using solar panels. Once science fiction, now, powering the car with energy from the sun has become a reality thanks to smart charging points, which can be connected to domestic solar panels.