If you’re searching for solar power options for your home, you’ve come to the right place. Wondering how much solar capacity you need to take on vehicle solar charging at home? Read on.
Increase energy dependence beyond the usual. There is another way besides plugging into the grid or having emergency backup power at home. Get a home vehicle that you can charge directly with renewable power source.
Whenever you can eliminate counter-party risks from the fuel company, the more you can tend to your own energy needs. That way, you are also reducing your carbon footprint and helping the environment.
How To Setup a Solar EV Charger
The main benefit of these rooftop solar chargers? It gives you the ability to charge your electric vehicle with your own power source. Charging with solar-generated electricity eliminates your EV’s fuel costs altogether. But, its application, things may not be as straightforward as it seems.
How To Charge An EV At Home Using Solar
Charging an electric vehicle with your own solar charging system is relatively easy although it depends on various factors. The solar charger system’s size, weather, and time of day are just some of these. If you want to easily charge your EV using solar, set a system big enough for your smart EV charger.
If you are not driving too often, it would be easier for you to charge with solar power. Choose between a portable Level 1 charger and a 5 kW system. You will discover, though, that charging with Level chargers can be a bit tricky. This is because it would require a bigger solar charging system.
This is a problem during bad or cloudy weather. Here, the system may not always generate enough energy to power Level 2 chargers to its full capacity.
EV battery capacity – Kilowatt-hours (KWh)
Before diving into setting up a solar-powered EV charger, let’s first get into the essentials. This means knowing about the range and battery capacity of your electric vehicle. Battery capacity can be measured in terms of kilowatt-hours (kWh). Electric vehicles are manufactured in different battery sizes ranging from 24kWh to 100kWh, and higher.
The most common electric vehicles have a battery capacity of 65 kWh. This provides a 350km driving range, depending on your driving efficiency and other conditions. Each kWh battery capacity provides at least 5km – 8km driving range.
For actual comparison, lighter and more efficient electric vehicles can go with as little as 12kWh/100km, while bigger, high-performance EVs can go for 20kWh or higher per 100km. The average electric vehicle uses 16kWh per 100km.
Driving at much higher speeds can lessen the driving range because of aerodynamic drag. But the majority of electric vehicles are built with regenerative braking systems which retrieve much energy and is generally lost while braking or slowing down the vehicle.
Regenerative braking can be quite useful in cities where there’s start-stop driving. It improves driving efficiency while reducing brake dust and pollution.
Home Electric Vehicle Charging Options
People who have installed a solar system at home are probably thinking of buying an EV but are wondering whether it is compatible with what they have set up.
It is worth noting that Level 2 chargepoints or wallbox chargers are simple devices that are easily installed at home or the workplace without a solar system. The challenge lies in using a grid connection with enough space to support the Level 2 chargepoint which requires a 32A power supply.
Technically speaking, there are three EV charging levels and only Level 1 and Level 2 can be set up at home. Level 1 is a portable charger that’s compatible with your home’s 10A power socket. This is the simplest standard EV chargers.
Level 2 are wall-mounted units that can be installed permanently at home and the workplace. Level 3 are fast, large and powerful chargers that are generally available at public EV charging stations.
- Level 1 – Portable chargers ( 4kW up to 3.6kW) that can be plugged into 10A or 15A home sockets.
- Level 2 – Wall-mounted chargers (5kW up to 22kW)
- Level 3 – Available in roadside EV charging stations; also called DC fast chargers
How Long Does Electric Vehicle Charging Take?
Several variables come into play when answering the question, “How long does it take to charge an electric vehicle?” The brand, make, and model of both the vehicle and the at-home electric car charger can all make a difference in the charge time for your electric vehicle.
If you consider the time it takes for batteries to reach full capacity, you must also factor in the battery level while charging and total battery capacity.
Generally, the higher the charger level, the faster it is, although it can also be more costly. You can generally charge your vehicle using a Level 1 charger overnight, although a Level 2 charger can charge it in half the time. Some superchargers like the Tesla superchargers can charge in half an hour.
How To Set Up An EV Solar Charger At Home
You can learn how to set up an EV solar charger at home using an easy-to-connect contraption. Once set up, you can store enough power to charge your electric vehicle and mobile devices.
What You’ll Need
Setting up a solar charging station is simple with the right equipment. You will need the following materials:
- Power generator
- Power converter
- Power storage
You can buy all these parts in popular online stores like Amazon so take your time to compare amperage and prices to find the right set for your needs.
Portable Solar Panels
There’s no need for you to call a professional to install weather-resistant solar panels on the rooftop or any stable location. You can mount, unmount and move portable solar panels at any time and location.
Solar controllers are an essential part of solar power such that the latter becomes more accessible. It is basically a dedicated charge controller with an information display screen.
The solar controller device is part of what makes solar power so much more accessible than it used to be. It’s essentially a specialized charge controller with a useful info display screen.
The inverter turns DC solar energy into AC energy. They generally have power sockets and USB ports. Some units also have batteries of their own.
Good storage of batteries helps ensure you have plenty of solar power to last you through rainy days.
These connect the solar controller to the batteries and enable the controller to regulate the voltage to avoid too much power or over-draining the system.
Choose Your Structure
You can set up your solar charging station using your own materials. For EV charge stops, you can set the panels over the carport and store the other equipment inside a cabinet within.
You can include them in a tent or cabin to power basic appliances like a radio or camp stove. Flexible panels will enable you to temporarily stick them over your car, RV, or truck with command strips for direct mobile charging or devices during road trips.
Command strips do not damage your car’s paint when removed. Feel free to experiment without making semi-permanent changes. Choose where you want to mount the solar panels and make sure the electrical equipment is protected before you begin.
Putting The Charging Station Together
- Mounting the Solar Panels
For a semi-permanent structural mount like that on a carport or shed, use bolts and a metal frame to embed the solar panels on your structure’s roof. Be sure to have the right screws and brackets to match the type of roof you are working with.
Tents must depend on foldable solar panels or the ones with holes to tie them at the top or along the sides. A vehicle can either temporarily or permanently mount them safely with sticky strips.
- Placing the Batteries
The batteries must be dry, safe, temperature-controlled, and stable in position. Anywhere indoors is generally fine but for safe camping, secure them carefully inside the vehicle and transport inside a sealed box.
- Putting the Solar Controller
The solar controller must be in a safe yet accessible position so you can clearly read the energy readings. This includes energy used and current battery capacity.
- Connecting Everything
Connect the solar panels to the solar controller using the solar power cables and parallel wiring according to the required voltage and amperage. Do the same procedure with the batteries. If you have a converter for the battery and power ports, connect them to the solar controller and its cables.
How Many Solar Panels Are Needed To Charge An Electric Vehicle?
To get an estimate of the number of solar panels you will need to charge an electric vehicle, you must look at your driving patterns. If you’re driving frequently, you are more prone to depleting your battery in between charges and you will have to recharge your battery again. Most of the time, people will only charge to acquire enough power for their daily commute and some for their errands in town.
The sun is our best source of renewable energy and you can collect loads of free energy with a simple setup. Plugging into solar energy would mean that you don’t have to rely on fossil fuel to charge your car or power the appliances inside your house.