How many solar panels are needed to charge a car at home?

The champion of sustainability for electric vehicles is possible thanks to solar energy. The dream archetype is to get around with a car that does not generate local emissions directly and whose energy has been obtained from a renewable source. Everything goes through domestic self-consumption, that is, using self-consumption solar panels to charge the car battery.

Self-consumption photovoltaic installations are connected to the electricity grid. It can be with surplus and without compensation (a system that is not effective for residential installations) or with surplus and compensation. With the latter, the home can consume energy from the network or its panels, “injecting” the surplus into the electricity network.

In a connected installation, dynamic power control can be placed, which allows for regulating the power transformed by the solar panels and the energy from the contracted network while our car is charging.

With this system, we could charge the vehicle using only the excess solar energy produced or carry out a fast charge with maximum power by combining energy from photovoltaic production with contracted energy.

Another option is to balance the load with the power available from the photovoltaic installation and the minimum amount of electricity from the electrical network necessary so that the vehicle never stops charging.

Solar Panel

How many solar panels do I need to charge an electric car battery?

To make the calculation, two factors must be taken into account:

  • The necessary power varies depending on the consumption of each home and the capacity of the vehicle battery.
  • The energy that a photovoltaic installation is capable of generating depends on the power of the solar panel (usually between 150 and 500W) and the geographical area in which we install it. 

The hours of sunlight and the incidence of the sun in A Coruña (which has 1,170 peak solar hours and a generation capacity of 2,047 kWh per year) are not the same as in Almería (which has 1,710 hours and a capacity of 3,052 kWh)

If, for example, we take the Peugeot e-208 as a reference, which offers a range of 340 kilometers (WLTP) with its 50 kWh battery charge, it turns out that if we travel 15,000 kilometers a year, we will consume 2,205 kWh of energy per year. To get that energy, we would need to install five solar panels capable of producing 450 kWh annually, each.

How much does a photovoltaic installation cost according to the number of plates?

The approximate price for a solar installation is usually between €0.8/kWh and €1.2/kWh of annual electricity consumption, which is around €500 or €600 per installed panel. This calculation can be altered by the quality of the components, the type of photovoltaic structure chosen, and the quality of the service, so it is merely indicative.

The most expensive option does not have to be the best, nor the one that best suits our situation. Therefore, it is advisable to carry out a personalized study to help make the best decision.

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