Transport systems are the biggest emitters of greenhouse gas in the United States. Smarter transportation choices are required to help the globe achieve net-zero carbon emissions. Here is where electric vehicles enter the picture. When electric automobiles are refueled using renewable energy sources, they produce no carbon emissions. Because we cannot put a wind generator or a hydroelectric system at our house or business, the best choice is to use a solar power charging home station.
This helps you save money on gas and electricity while also boosting the green rating of your building. And besides, it makes perfect sense to charge electric cars using solar energy. Additionally, selecting energy companies that provide green energy reduces emissions, even more, when utilizing grid-based energy.
What Is a Solar Electric Car Charger?
A solar electric car charger (SECC) is a device that uses solar energy to charge your EV. This might be a standalone solar device or a regular EV charger connected to extrasolar system equipment. An SECC system typically comprises the following components:
- Solar panels: Made up of photovoltaic (PV) transforming natural solar light into direct current (DC).
- Inverter:Solar systems produce DC electricity, but electric vehicles require AC energy to charge. An inverter is a device that transforms DC to AC, which is required to power an electric car. The inverter is built into the EV supply equipment in specialized solar chargers.
- EVSE (electric vehicle supply equipment): This is how your car gets power from an energy source. It's made up of software, interface, protocols, and electrical conductors that allow power to be safely delivered to your car's battery. EVSE is divided into three categories. Levels 1 and 2 offer 120 and 240 volts of AC electricity, respectively. Level 3 EVSEs give 480 volts or more of fast-charging DC electricity.
- Battery storage: Your solar energy will not be wasted if you use a battery storage device.
Benefits of a Solar Power Charging Home Station
More car firms that previously solely built gasoline-run vehicles have turned their attention to producing electric automobiles for everyday usage, with Tesla setting the pace. If you own or want to buy an electric vehicle, having a convenient and efficient way to charge your EV battery at home is helpful and rewarding. You will decide whether to recharge the batteries off-grid or create a solar energy system to accomplish the same goal. EV owners will gain financially from installing solar power systems in their homes, among other advantages of residential solar systems.
If you currently have a solar system, extending it to meet the growing energy demands of your household appliances and charging your automobile might be a wise decision. Even a modest solar energy system with ten solar panels can charge an automobile's battery.
Here are some of the advantages of having a solar-powered home EV charging station.
Are you concerned that you won't be able to charge your vehicle's battery throughout the day since you'll be at work? Don't be concerned! Net metering can still be profitable. This system works by letting you pump extra solar power into the grid throughout the day in exchange for comparable energy points whenever you need it off-grid. Assume your solar panels send 10 kWh of power to the grid regularly. When you go back home, you may use your 10 kWh of power from the electricity grid to charge your EV battery for free. You can sell the remainder to the electric grid for profit if the whole 10kWh is not withdrawn.
The average cost of power in the United States is 13.31 cents per kWh. And it's expected that these rates will continue to rise! If you install home solar panel kits for your EV charging stations, you may easily reduce your monthly electricity expenditure by more than half. The long-term benefits of a solar system far surpass the installation expenses.
Reduces Carbon Footprint
Electric cars have been proven to substantially positively influence the environment compared to gasoline-powered automobiles. Though you utilize grid energy to power your automobile, you may be doing far less than you realize to lessen your carbon impact. How? So, between 40% and 60% of national grid electricity is generated from non-renewable energy sources. Installing a home solar EV charging point is thus an ecologically sound choice because it ensures a carbon-free footprint.
When you come across folks queued up waiting to recharge their cars at public charging points mainly if you live in a region with few of them), it might be inconvenient. Furthermore, a grid-connected home station is inconvenient when a power failure occurs. Solar power charging is suitable and flexible for charging your automobile in the comfort of your own home. Furthermore, you will not have to stress about grid failures. Installing a battery pack to store energy at home gives you complete freedom since an interruption at night won't affect you.
Tax Credits and Government Incentives
Depending on where you live, you might want to look into state-specific tax credits and incentives. In any event, the sooner you go solar, the more money you'll save on installations.
Increases Property Value
Homes with solar systems have a higher market value and sell faster as more buyers become aware of the benefits of purchasing a solar-powered house.
Types of Solar Electric Car Chargers
If you have an electric car and want to go off the grid, you could either set up an integrated charger or connect an inverter to a solar-powered home-charging arrangement separately.
Integrated solar electric chargers have an inverter to convert DC to AC. Some integrated chargers can redirect excess solar energy to your EV charging connection.
Others can accelerate charging by supplementing solar energy with grid power. Integrated chargers do not require any extra setup or wiring after installation.
If your household already has a solar power system but doesn't have an EV, a separate installation is a great option. Microinverters would be an excellent choice in this instance. These are little inversion gadgets that you can put beneath each solar array to allow them to work independently. Using this inversion approach, you can raise the number of microinverters to support EV charging.
How to choose a solar electric car charger
There are a few things to think about before settling on a solar EV charging system:
First and foremost, not all power is made equal. Whereas the 120VAC from your home outlets can charge your electric automobile, the method is inconvenient. Based on your car's storage capacity, level 1 charging can take around 8 to 24 hours on ordinary household AC power. Some limited-range EVs and hybrids, such as the Chevy Volt, can charge overnight, but vehicles with a more extended range, such as the Chevy Bolt, can charge incredibly slowly due to their considerably bigger batteries.
If you're going to charge your EV at home specifically, you'll want to go with Level 2 charging, which is significantly more popular and convenient. If your garage doesn't already have a 240V connection, you'll have to contact an electrician to fix one. Installation typically costs around $500, based on the work involved. However, given that Level 2 chargers can fully charge your vehicle in a short while, it's a wise investment.
You'll also have to invest in a specific charging point with a 240V connection.
Expertise is essential when deciding whether to implement a separate or an integrated system. Incorporating your inverter separately may provide you with more influence over your power distribution if you're familiar with solar inverters and how to establish a solar power system for maximum efficiency.
Selecting an integrated EV charger may be preferable if you'd rather have a streamlined system managed by an installation firm. This is especially true if you're installing a solar array and a charging station in your house at the same time. In this situation, an integrated alternative can shorten setup time and save money over the long term.
The existing solar electric vehicle charging alternatives rely on grid electricity to varying degrees. A separate-inverter configuration is more likely to fit your requirements if you're especially interested in being entirely off the grid. If you're OK with augmenting on-grid electricity with solar power, an integrated solution is a good fit.
Although many solar chargers are built to be firmly mounted in your driveway, choose one with a 240V NEMA 6-50 or 14-50 power socket that you can connect to any 240V socket. The installation cost will be similar, and using a plug-in model allows you to transport it if you move around a lot. Many Level 2 Chargers come with wall mounts for simple removal, and many come with locking mechanisms to keep the device secure when put in a carport or external wall.
Voltage is only one factor to consider. You should also match amperage to your preferred EV. It can take time to charge your automobile if the amperage is low. A 30-amp Level 2 charger adds roughly 25 miles of range per hour on average, whereas a 15-amp charger only adds about 12 miles. Specialists generally recommend 30 amps, with many newer chargers capable of 50 amps. Always verify your EV's specifications to see what maximum amperage it can handle. Purchase the greatest amperage that your EV can safely support for the most efficient charging.
It's important to note that your charger should be linked to a circuit breaker that can withstand more current than the solar car charger. You should use a 40-amp circuit breaker to link a 30-amp charger. A trained technician will take this into account and, if applicable, provide a quotation for installing a breaker.
Many of the newer electric vehicle chargers come with various "smart" connectivity options, which can spare you time and frustration. Some monitor and control charging from practically anywhere using a smartphone app. Some companies will let you plan your car's charging to occur around cheaper off-peak hours. Many will also allow you to track your EV's power consumption levels, which is beneficial if you use it for business.
How to Make Use of Solar Powered EV Chargers
The most straightforward approach to using solar to run your automobile is to connect it to an EV station throughout the day. If the energy produced by your solar panels exceeds the amount required by your car, no grid power will be required. If this isn't the case, you will utilize grid power to make up for the shortfall; keep this in mind while recharging your EV during the night or on a foggy day.
Solar battery systems using smart technology may store energy and deliver it at a later time. There are EV units that can monitor solar power generation and regulate the electricity of your EV station autonomously. A grid connection is still necessary for periods when solar production is minimal and to prevent micro charging.
How Much Does a Solar-powered Charging Station Cost?
The cost of a solar home electric car charging system begins at $499, with setup expenses ranging from $300 to $1,000, based on the charger and any electrical improvements. Home charging points are available from Clipper Creek, Bosch, Leviton, ChargePoint, Delta, eMotoWerks, and Siemens. The state of New York and PSEGLI both give rewards for charging stations. The PSEGLI reimbursement is currently $500, roughly half the price of a fitted charger!
If you reside in Long Island or New York City, power costs 21 cents per kWh. Considering the levelized price of electricity, solar energy might cost as little as 8 cents/kWh. Owing to hourly fees, recharging at a public outlet can cost nearly twice as much as recharging at home, with all-in costs of approximately 50 cents/kWh or even more.