How Much Solar Does It Take To Charge An EV?

Solar panels and electric vehicles (EVs) are the perfect pairing. Not only are they both environmentally friendly, but charging an EV with solar is clean and convenient! But if you want to charge your EV with solar, how many panels does it take?

Our solar pros at Solar Bear Orlando explain what you need to know to make the most of your clean energy!

Solar Energy & Charging Electric Vehicles

As you can imagine, answering this question is not simple. It depends on your specific solar panels, the EV battery’s efficiency, your driving habits, and more. But with a little math, we can estimate how many solar panels you might need.

Let’s start by figuring out how much energy you’ll likely need to charge your EV.

How Much Solar Energy Does it Take to Charge an EV?

First, you’ll have to calculate how many miles you travel per day and the efficiency rating of your specific EV.

Depending on your vehicle you may need to find:

  • Miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe)
  • Kilowatt hours per 100 miles
  • Miles per kWh

For this guide, we’ll be using the last measurement. If you don’t know it, take the MPGe and divide it by 33.705 and that will give you your mi/kWh.

Let’s say we use the Chevrolet Bolt as an example. It gets 120 MPGe or 3.56 miles per kWh.

So, now that we know this EV’s efficiency rating, we will divide the miles that you travel a day (say 37 miles) by the number of miles your Bolt can travel per kWh.

37 miles a day / 3.56 miles per kWh = 10.39 kWh a day.

Now you have the average amount of energy a Chevy bolt will use per day and how much solar energy it needs to be fully charged. Next, we will see how many solar panels you’ll need to generate the 10.39 kWh your EV needs each day.

How Many Solar Panels Do You Need?

Generally, it can take 5 to 12 solar panels to generate enough power to charge an EV, but this also depends on several factors. We’ll continue to use our Chevy Bolt as an example.

So, you need 10.29 kWh of electricity each day to charge your Bolt, so now we need to figure out how many solar panels generate that amount of electricity.

First, we need to calculate how many kWh of electricity one solar panel produces. This will vary based on the wattage of the panel, the manufacturer, and the number of hours of sunlight it gets each day.

It’s easy! Hours of daylight per day x panel wattage = watt hours per day

Divide the watt hours by 1,000 to get kWh and you’ll have the daily output of your panel.

Note: Generally, solar panel outputs range from 250 to 400 watts, but 400W is what we like to consider standard.

In Florida, we get a lot of sun, but on average the number of hours of sun ranges around 4.5-6. We’ll use 5 hours here.

5 hours of sun x 400 Watts 2,000 Watts a day, or 2 kWh a day.

Not we know how much one solar panel will produce. So how many panels do we need to charge our Chevy Bolt? We’re close!

Divide the kilowatt hours of electricity needed each day by the daily kWh output of the panel to get the number of panels you’ll need to adequately charge your EV.

10.29 kWh per day / 2 kWh per panel a day = 5.15 panels

Since we don’t have partial panels, we’d likely round this up to 6 total panels.

Charging Needs are Different

While this is meant to be an overview of how many panels you might need, it is always best to work with a professional solar company like Solar Bear Orlando who will calculate your needs based on your specific situation.

But generally, you’ll have a good idea when you take into account:

  • The fuel efficiency of your EV
  • Number of miles traveled each day
  • The wattage of your solar panels
  • The average amount of sun each day

Still not sure? That’s what we’re here for!

Choose Energy Efficiency This Year

If you are ready to harness the power of the sun and power up your EV, you’re in the right place! Our team of solar technicians can accurately calculate how many panels you’ll need based on your location and specific electric vehicle. Soon, you’ll be powering your EV with the sun’s rays! Exciting, isn’t it?

Ready to get started? Contact Solar Bear Orlando for a quote today at (727) 471-7442!