Adding Electric Vehicle Charging to a Solar Energy System

In Massachusetts and Rhode Island, incentives have created a buyer benefit where the more solar power you can generate, the more you can save. For homeowners that are studying their solar power options, it is also a great time to consider you transportation future. Overall, New England acquires as much as 60% or more of its electricity from burning natural gas. Charging an EV is therefore not as clean as it could be.

But thanks to incentives, adding an EV Charger to a residential solar energy installation not only assures the car is charged mostly with clean energy, it also may cost less to charge. This is true in two ways:

When an EV model is chosen, the charging requirements are set. Just as combustion engine cars vary in gas mileage, so to small to large EVs vary in energy consumption per distance driven. Some have larger battery packs and require greater a longer charging time. A newly designed solar energy system can be sized to cover the anticipated needs. Where required, additional solar panels may be added to provide the additional kWh of solar power to cover the car charging.

The additional kWh generated are subject to the same SMART reimbursement rates or net metering offsets depending on your state. You will be compensated at a rate higher than the current billing rate.

Installing an EV Charger

Southern Light Solar may provide or subcontract as needed the skill and manpower to properly locate and install an EV charging station to get the best benefits from the solar design.

Some electric vehicle manufacturers assist car buyers by providing specific chargers to best fit the needs of both the car and the owner. Luxury brands often offer these as a convenience to the buyer. Still, others recommend third party brands and models and point the car buyer to the open marketplace. We can assist the solar energy system buyer in making the best charger selection to optimize the installation.

Estimating EV Charging Needs

Again, just as is the case with conventional internal combustion engine cars and gas, you EV selection impacts your electrical energy needs. Looking at the range of the smallest and most efficient EV to the largest one with power consuming options in 2019, there is approximately a 2:1 range of electrical energy consumed to travel the same distance.

Picking the annual travel of 12,000 miles, in New England the capacity of somewhere between 5 or 6 solar panels and approximately a dozen may be needed to fully charge an EV for everyday use. Of course, we will complete a whole-house design, and often this results in fewer panels needed. Occupants and families that are or become more careful in their energy use each month may also be well served by a smaller solar energy system.

Looked at another way, on average charging an EV throughout a year is similar in demand as adding another hot water heater or midsize heating and air conditioning unit for the typical family of four. That is well within range for most homes and most rooftop configurations.