Charging an electric car with solar panels is becoming a hot topic as more people buy electric vehicles. Many wonder how many solar panels it would take to keep their cars running without relying on the grid.

It’s useful to know that, depending on various factors, you might need anywhere from 5 to 12 solar panels to fully charge your electric vehicle.

This blog post breaks down everything you need to understand about using solar energy for your electric car – from calculating the number of panels needed based on your daily use and the efficiency of the panels, to practical advice for setting up a home charging system.

Whether you’re concerned about cutting electricity bills or reducing your carbon footprint, this guide has got you covered. Keep reading for all you need to know!

Understanding the Energy Requirements of an Electric Vehicle

A fully charged electric car plugged into a futuristic city charging station.

To charge an electric vehicle (EV), you must know its battery size and daily energy use. This info helps figure out how much power the EV needs each day.

The size of the EV battery

Electric vehicle batteries vary in storage capacity, ranging from 25 to 100 kilowatt-hours (kWh). This means some electric vehicles can store more energy than others. The average EV has a battery size of about 63 kWh.

A larger battery can hold more energy, which allows the car to go farther on a single charge.

Every electric vehicle needs an efficient way to charge its battery. Solar power offers a clean energy source for charging EVs at home or work. Understanding the size of your EV’s battery helps you figure out how many solar panels you’ll need to effectively charge it using renewable energy sources like sunlight.

Daily energy consumption

An average electric vehicle (EV) needs between 4,000 to 5,000 kWh of electricity every year. This energy powers the car’s drive on roads. Every mile an EV travels eats up about 0.32 kWh of power.

For a clearer picture, if you drive your car for about 40 miles daily, it uses roughly 12.8 kWh of energy that day alone.

Now let’s figure out how many solar panels are needed to keep an EV charged and ready to go.

Calculating the Number of Solar Panels Needed to Charge an EV

Solar panels on a carport charging an electric vehicle.

To figure out how many solar panels are needed to charge an electric vehicle, you must first know the car’s energy use. Next, you need to consider the solar panel’s power and how much sunlight it gets daily.

The efficiency of the solar panel

Solar panels turn sunlight into electricity at different rates of efficiency. Most solar panels on the market today work at 15-20% efficiency. This means they convert 15-20% of the sunlight they catch into usable energy.

The rest of the sunlight does not become electricity and is lost mostly as heat.

The amount of energy a solar panel produces depends on its efficiency and the amount of sunlight it gets. More efficient panels produce more power from the same amount of light compared to less efficient ones.

This makes high-efficiency panels better for charging electric vehicles (EVs) because they need fewer panels to get the same amount of power.

Average sunlight hours

Different places get different amounts of sunlight each day. This changes how many solar panels you need to charge an electric vehicle (EV). On average, a typical home solar system with ten 300W panels gets about 6.02 hours of sunlight daily.

This amount can help power your EV.

The number of sunlight hours affects energy production from solar panels. More sunlight means more energy for charging an EV at home without relying on fossil fuels or public ev charging stations.

Knowing your area’s average sunlight helps plan the size of your solar setup for efficient ev charging and reliable energy storage.

The Benefits of Using Solar Panels for Charging an EV

Charging an EV with solar panels cuts down on electricity costs. It also helps in reducing the carbon emissions from your car, making it a greener choice.

Reducing electricity bills

Using solar panels to charge an EV cuts down on electricity bills. Solar power is cheaper than grid-produced electricity. This means more money stays in your pocket every month.

Solar charging turns your home into a mini green-energy station. You avoid the high costs of fueling up with traditional electricity. Plus, you contribute less to utility peak load times, saving even more on electric rates.

Minimizing carbon footprint

Pairing an EV with solar panels drastically cuts down on your carbon footprint. Solar panels produce clean, renewable energy. At the same time, electric vehicles (EVs) give off zero tailpipe emissions.

This combo helps fight climate change by lowering the need for fossil fuels.

Charging your EV with rooftop solar reduces charging costs to almost nothing and creates no carbon emissions. This move towards renewables like solar power not only saves you money but also plays a crucial role in tackling the global climate crisis.

Practical Considerations for Charging an EV with Solar Panels

Charging an EV with solar panels requires thoughtful planning. You must consider your daily driving needs and the sun’s availability in your area.

The need for home solar batteries

Home solar batteries store extra energy from your solar panels. This stored power can charge your electric vehicle (EV) at night or on cloudy days. With a battery, you don’t waste the electricity your panels produce when you’re not using it.

Instead, that energy charges your car, saving you money and cutting down on pollution.

Having a home energy storage system lets you keep driving without relying only on the grid. It makes sure your EV is always ready to go, especially if there’s an outage or peak demand times when electricity costs more.

Solar batteries help make your drive greener and more energy efficient by using sunshine stored in your own backyard.

When solar charging might not be feasible

Charging an electric car with solar panels may not work for everyone. Current technology and energy production limits make it hard to power cars fully with just solar panels. Some homes might not get enough sunlight or have enough space for the necessary solar array.

Others live in condos or apartments where installing personal solar systems isn’t an option.

Experts point out that onboard solar charging for cars is still impractical because of these limitations. Plus, relying on public charging stations might still be a need for many electric vehicle owners.

The ideal scenario involves combining home solar energy systems, community solar projects, and traditional charging to meet all needs efficiently. Now, let’s explore the benefits of using such a diverse approach to EV charging.


Figuring out the right number of solar panels to charge a car boils down to understanding your vehicle’s needs and local sunlight conditions. Typically, five to twelve panels should do the trick for most electric vehicles.

It’s smart to chat with a solar expert who can help fine-tune this estimate for your specific situation. Going solar for charging your EV not only cuts down on electricity bills but also helps keep our planet cleaner.

So, considering solar power as an option for energizing your electric vehicle is indeed a bright idea!

If you’re interested in leveraging solar power for other purposes, check out our guide on how many solar panels you need to heat a pool.

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