With grid power outages increasing exponentially in the past decade, grid reliability is down, and electricity bills are expensive. Homeowners are increasingly looking towards solar storage systems for their financial savings incentives. Residential solar had a record year, revealing 40% growth over 2021, which totaled nearly 6GWdc of installations. With the solar industry’s rapid growth in recent years, more and more homeowners are seeking to power their homes and become less reliant on fossil fuels and the energy grid. For those who are not familiarized with solar storage and energy, the switch to solar may seem daunting. What we found is that 91% of people who commit to their journey in solar energy storage often start with smart thermostats. After discovering the value of smart technologies, homeowners often make a natural progression towards other solutions including energy efficiency audits, electric vehicles (EVs), and eventually solar storage systems. With the current growth trajectory of the EV industry, electric cars will inevitably surpass traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles by 2030. With this growth, it is interesting to note that a new common entry point to solar energy storage is through EVs.
Solar Energy to Power EVs
As EVs become increasingly popular, more people are turning to renewable energy sources like solar energy systems to power their vehicles. An interesting research found that half of consumers who start their home electrification journey with EVs will purchase solar either as the next step or subsequent step. What makes the pair so compatible is the added financial savings that homeowners can derive by charging their electric vehicles with their solar storage system. However, the amount of solar array needed to power an EV is dependent on several factors, such as the size of the solar panels, the capacity of the EV battery, and the driving habits of the EV owner.
According to a study, it typically costs electric vehicle owners an average of $662 USD to charge their vehicles annually through grid power. If we compare this with traditional ICE vehicles, which reveals an average payment of $1260 annually, EVs are an obvious choice. However, by pairing EVs with a solar storage system, consumers pay on average $415 USD annually. With added financial incentives, it makes sense for electric vehicle owners to make the switch to solar energy systems. Homeowners then also become less reliant on the energy grid, which has proven to become increasingly unreliable. Additionally, a huge incentive for electric vehicle purchases is not limited to financial savings, but also environmental impact and a lower carbon footprint. This is why most electric vehicle owners often make a natural progression towards solar storage systems as it is essentially compounding on the financial and environmental incentives.
Determining Electricity Needed for an EV
The amount of electricity required for an EV owner per day, month, or year depends on how far the owner drives. Location is a huge factor when determining how much mileage is required of a driver on a daily, monthly, or annual basis. For example, if you live in an urban area but you don’t drive the car often, the electricity required to power your EV will be relatively low over the course of the year. Conversely, if you live in a more rural area which takes a longer daily commute time for work or other commitments, then the electricity required to power your car would evidently increase and would constitute a large amount of EV usage.
Determining Your Solar Array Size for an EV
This prompts the question, how much bigger does your solar array need to be if you own an EV? In order to determine your solar array size, you will need three key pieces of information: how much electricity your car uses in a given year measured in kWh, the wattage of the solar panels that you are installing, and how well solar panels are able to produce electricity based on your location. The most important factor to consider for your Photovoltaic (PV) system is the solar radiation in your location. Locations like New Mexico, California, and Texas all have good solar radiation, proving to be effective locations for solar and PV systems. Typically, an American driver will need around 4,000 kWh of electricity per year. The most frequently seen Watt range in solar panels, according to EnergySage Solar Marketplace Intel report, lies in between 320 to 330 Watts. Taking into consideration all three factors listed above, charging an electric vehicle will typically require between 7 to 9 solar panels in your solar energy system.
Cost of Going Solar
Solar adoption rates are steadily increasing as barriers for homeowners who are considering a solar storage system are being addressed. For example, a wide range of financing options and opportunities for solar energy exist to reduce upfront costs for homeowners.
The total cost of solar installations is affected by several factors such as the system size, battery storage, and location. Each system should be customized to suit every homeowner needs, which can ultimately require varying installation costs. Pairing EVs with a solar energy system is becoming a popular solution to offset energy costs. As the cost of solar panels continues to decrease, more people are likely to turn to renewable energy sources to power their vehicles, reducing their carbon footprint and saving on energy costs. Solar installation prices have also fallen by more than 60% over the last decade. As the solar energy industry continues to grow, it is all the more important for homeowners like yourself who are considering solar to be provided with the correct resources to make smarter decisions.
To learn more about how much a solar panel and storage system can save you, browse our other blog articles.