Purchasing an electric vehicle (“EV” for short) stands as one of the most environmentally responsible decisions you can make, helping society move toward a more sustainable model. Experts agree: EVs create a lower carbon footprint over the course of their lifetime than internal combustion vehicles, eliminating tailpipe emissions altogether and providing the opportunity to harness electricity produced from sources other than coal and natural gas.
Of course, most EV cars are charged by the grid. And the grid relies on fossil fuels to generate 60% of our national energy production.
New York obtains some 30% of its electricity net generation from utility-scale renewable sources, so charging your electric car from the grid may indirectly leave consumers powering their car from a fossil fuel source.
But that’s beginning to change.
The Solar Shift
The good news is that the proliferation of in-home solar production could soon lead to the electric car’s true green intent. Wind power, hydropower and other sources are also making their own contributions, though for most home consumers, accessible solar production could pave the way for a true alternative grid-powered vehicles.
But how much solar energy do you need to power an electric car?
Most electric cars power themselves through a special electric vehicle (EV) adapter installed into your home's electrical panel. How far a full charge will get you — and at what cost — depends on a couple of items:
Your car’s mileage rating
The cost per kilowatt-hour from your utility
While “miles per gallon” rule the day for fuel economy within the context of traditional gas-powered cars, “kilowatt-hours per 100 miles” are the new standard-bearer in the world of electric cars. Think of it like this:
On average, an electric car (as of this writing) may require anywhere between 27-32 kWh to travel 100 miles. We’ll use the lower end at 27 kWh for the purposes of this example.
Your electric bill should be able to show you what your utility is charging per kWh, though the national average currently sits around 13.19 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), with rates on Long Island around 21 cents per kWh.
27 kWh x 21 cents = $5.67 per 100 miles.
Furthermore, using the formula above, you can estimate your costs around an average year of driving. Say you average 12,000 miles per year. Extrapolated, you can expect to spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $680 yearly on fuel costs.
Where Solar Fits
Armed with an estimate on your electric car’s refill costs, the conversation with your solar installer should be fairly quick and easy. Speaking to how much energy you’ll need to offset your car’s needs, both you and the installer can come to a consensus on the equipment, number of panels, and potential EV charger you’ll need.
While we may be generations away from a solar panel directly powering a car, offsetting your car’s energy needs with solar power pumped into your home is among the most environmentally conscious decisions you can make.
In addition, Federal tax incentives can allow for more savings — with our home installations now offering flexible $0 down financing options, working solar power into your home could pay dividends for you, your bank account and the environment all in one swoop.
Wondering how much solar you'll need for your electric vehicle? Fill out the form and our team will reach out as soon as possible.