Connections Between Solar Power and Electric Vehicles

Clean forms of energy continue to become more and more popular in today’s society, within multiple distinct areas. In fact, some of the modern uses of clean, renewable energy are closely connected to one another and even relate in several direct ways – and a great example here is the connection between solar power and electric vehicles.

At Intermountain Wind & Solar, we’re happy to provide a huge range of residential and commercial solar panel services, including for those who want to use their solar power system to generate power for more than just their home or building. One of the most common alternative uses for solar power is generating power to use within an electric vehicle, or EV – how common is this, why are these two areas naturally connected, and what are some of the details and calculation areas you should consider if you’re going this route? Here’s a primer.

Some General Figures

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, reliance on solar power has grown to a quite significant point in our modern society. Roughly 43% of all new electricity-generating capacity additions are via solar power as of late in 2020, per the SEIA, a huge number that showcases just how popular solar power is – nearly half of all new power generation is coming from this source alone.

Simultaneously, electric vehicles experienced unprecedented growth in the year 2020; in fact, this growth mirrored that of solar power in many ways. Despite overall vehicle sales dropping during that unique calendar year, EV sales rose over 40%, almost in precise lockstep with the rise in solar power. These are clear signs that even as several industries are heavily impacted by the pandemic and related events, clean and renewable sources of power – and their resulting products – remain extremely popular and desirable.

Connection Between EV and Solar Power

One simple explanation for why the growth numbers in solar power and electric vehicles are so similar: The two are connected in very basic ways, starting with the fact that solar panels can power an electric vehicle’s operation. Not only is charging an electric vehicle with solar power the far cleaner solution for the environment, it’s also often a far lower strain on your pocketbook.

This latter theme is particularly true if you’re using the sort of high-quality solar panels and battery backups we provide at Intermountain. Rather than relying on your local electrical grid, which both costs more and may deal with outages and related issues, you can rely on cleanly-generated power that’s available to you at any time. Your bank account will thank you, as will the environment around you.

Battery Backup and Excess Energy

Some may be worried about powering their vehicle on a cloudy day, but not if they’ve utilized our Tesla Powerwall battery backup system. A battery backup provides quality storage of your excess solar power, keeping it accessible in case you need more power for a given situation or time of day. In fact, during our installation of solar panels and battery backups, we will often specifically ask whether there are any electric vehicles in the home you plan to charge using solar power – if so, this will allow us to increase your panel numbers or battery capacity, ensuring you have enough backup power to operate the vehicle on a daily basis.

Not Just Residential

We should note that it’s not just individual vehicle owners who benefit from this theme – not by a long shot. In fact, many auto dealerships have begun to realize the value of solar power if they stock electric vehicle, and have installed commercial solar panel systems that generate huge amounts of in-house power they can use for charging needs.

Many dealerships have cut their electricity costs by as much as 50% or even greater through this method, plus have shown themselves to be progressive, modern companies that care about the environment – factors that are sure to draw in some customers.

Calculating Power and Cost Needs

If you decide to go this route, how much power should you be expecting to use each month to keep your electric vehicle running? EV owners generally use kilowatt-hours per 100 miles for their power need calculations, with the average electric vehicle sporting around 25 kWh per 100 miles.

In a normal setup, one where you’d be using electrical power from the grid, you’d have to determine the general cost of this power. The national average cost of electric power is 13.3 cents per kilowatt-hour – this may differ by state, but we’ll use this basic number for now as a template. If you multiply this number by the rough 25 kWh per 100 miles you get from the average electric vehicle, this means your cost per mile in a normal grid electric setup will be about 3 cents.

And over a period of months or years, those miles will add up quickly. However, if you’ve set up your solar panel system so that it will be generating your power, including for your vehicle, you won’t be paying this money directly to your utility company – or even paying it at all in most cases. Not only will you save money for yourself, you’ll do so while generating power in a more eco-friendly way.

For more on the important connections between solar power and electric vehicles, or to learn about any of our solar panel installation services, speak to the staff at Intermountain Wind & Solar today.

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