Solar EV Chargers: Power Your Car with Sunshine
13,476 miles. That’s how much the average American drives each year, according to the US Department of Transportation. To put that in perspective, you can drive from Anchorage, AK to Miam i, FL and back in 9,916 miles.
At a national average of 24.7 mpg, our vehicles will each suck up about 546 gallons of gas this year. which costs around 1,650. We’ll also each contribute 4.6 metric tons of CO 2 to Earth’s atmosphere.
Whether it’s to cut expenses, do your part for the environment, or a little of both, more and more Americans are making the switch to hybrid or electric cars. But these next-generation vehicles still need fuel, and electricity isn’t free. unless you have solar power.
Find out what options you have for electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, how much they’ll cost you, and how many panels you’ll need to power your car.
The Types and Costs of EV Car Chargers
There are three types of EV chargers, and which type you decide to install will dictate the cost. Currently, Paradise Energy offers options for private chargers, integrated private chargers, and public chargers.
Private EV Charger
A private EV charging station will allow you to plug in your electric vehicle and charge up your car’s battery. These can be hooked up to a solar panel system or it can be grid-tied, so if you have an electric car but no solar panels, it’s a great home charging station option.
Costs for a charging station like this will be in the neighborhood of 2,000. 3,000, if installed in conjunction with a solar array. The cost will depend on several factors, including how far it is installed from your main distribution panel, and whether or not trenching will be required.
Integrated Private EV Charger
An integrated private charger is similar, but can only be installed with a solar system that has a solar inverter that’s the right brand and size. At Paradise Energy, we offer a SolarEdge EV charging station that integrates with some SolarEdge inverters.
For this option, a 25-foot charging cable is connected directly to your inverter. While this is the least expensive option, your SolarEdge inverter must be in a location where you can pull up your car and park it for a few hours. Granted you are installing the proper inverter, this solar-power EV car charger and its installation will cost around 1,100 if it is installed at the same time as the solar array.
Public EV Charger
The third option is a public charger. These are intended for commercial use and allow their owners to charge a fee to those who use them. They’re also the most expensive option and require ongoing software updates.
These updates are integrated with an app that lets people see where EV charging stations are located and which charging stations are already occupied. They can also reserve their spot in a virtual line, so they don’t have to wait around for their turn to charge.
A public charger that is integrated with a solar system will likely cost you in the ballpark of 15,000. A public charger that is not integrated with a solar system can run around 20,000 or more. You’ll also have to pay for continued software maintenance for the app.
Charging Times and DC Fast Chargers
If charging speed is important to you, DC fast chargers may be an option. A standard 7.6 kW charger can charge a 16 kWh battery in about two hours and a 90 kWh battery in ten to 12 hours. However, a 50 kW DC fast charger can charge a 16 kWh battery in just 20 minutes and a 90 kWh battery in under two hours.
While those charging speeds sound attractive, they come at a high price. A DC fast charger can costs upwards of 60,000.
How Many Solar Panels Does It Take to Charge an Electric Car?
Electricity is expensive, just like gas. While you can hook your EV charger to the grid and pay your utility to charge your car, you could also cut your carbon emissions by using renewable energy instead. If you have a solar system or you’re considering installing one to power your EV charger, it may take fewer solar panels than you think.
As a general estimate, it could take in the neighborhood of eight and 14 solar panels to charge your electric car. This depends on how much you drive, the efficiency of your vehicle, the sunshine in your area, and the type of panels you have installed. The installation cost for a system of this size would likely be 20,000 to 25,000 before incentives.
To get a clearer picture, you’ll have to determine how much electricity your car uses. We’ll take a look at how many kilowatt-hours (kWh) it takes for your car to travel 100 miles. To find this out, you can look up your vehicle on fueleconomy.gov. The number you need will be at the bottom of the green EPA Fuel Economy box:
Once you have that information, find out how much extra electricity you’ll need to power your car each month with the following formula:
(kWh per 100 Mi for your electric vehicle monthly miles driven) / 100 = kWh needed per month
Or, use our calculator below:
Here’s an example. Sticking with our averages, we’ll say we drive 1,100 miles each month with a car that uses 30 kWh of electricity to travel 100 miles. Crunching the numbers, we’ll need 330 kWh to travel that distance each month.
How many solar panels is that? It’s hard to give an exact answer, because how much electricity one solar panel produces is based on the type of panel, where it’s installed, and the weather in your area. A general estimate is that one panel can produce around 30 kWh each month. Divide the 330 kWh you need to power your electric car by 30 kWh, and you get 11 panels.
One option for these solar panels is installing them as a carport, so you’ll have a place to park your car while it’s charging. You can also add EV chargers to an existing system or integrate it into a new, larger system that powers the rest of your home or business.
Top Solar Panels for Camping, Basecamping, and Outdoor Adventures
Electronics are a part of the adventurer’s quiver of tools more than ever before. Thanks to efficiency advances and cost decreases in solar cells, portable solar chargers are finally proving to be a viable means of providing electricity outdoors. A backcountry user might carry a smartphone, GoPros, headlamp, tablet, camera, headphones, and PLB or GPS devices. A family on an extended weekend trip will likely bring multiple smartphones, tablets, speakers, laptops, electric lanterns, and more. Rafters, climbers, bikepackers, and mountain bikers on a weekend mission might haul out even more high-powered lights and GoPros, radios, and other electronic equipment.
By harnessing the energy of the sun, anyone can charge their legion of devices rather than carrying physical batteries or draining the battery in their vehicle or camper. From portable solar chargers that can accommodate multiple devices during a family camping trip, to power banks that hold the biggest charge, to lightweight options for backcountry users that weigh under a pound, we reviewed top models to find the best portable solar chargers for most outdoor uses. Plus, we’ve got tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your portable solar panels, power banks and chargers.
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The Best Portable Solar Chargers
We had three clones to evaluate, all of which performed similarly well, so it was hard to determine which of those to award. However, one did surpass the others, as various sites have mentioned. We also considered different use cases in making our final judgments. As such, some of our winners are in unique categories.
Overall Winner: Big Blue 28W USB Solar Charger
Weight: 1 pound, 5 ounces
Solar Cell Output Capacity: 10 watts
Power Output to Device: USB, 5V up to 2A (28W max)
Integrated battery: No
Ports: 2, 2.4 Amp USB-A Ports
What we liked: simple, lightweight, provides more power than similar models, can charge multiple small devices, includes anmeter
What we didn’t like:
We concur with many review sites and consumer reviews that the 1 pound, 5 ounce Big Blue 28W USB Solar Charger was the best for most outdoor use. It’s a simple, lightweight, and powerful solar power charger that seems to provide a little more power than its competition. It will also provide enough power in direct sunlight to charge multiple small devices for one or two people.
The Big Blue unit we tested also included an ammeter, which displays the amount of electrical current the solar panel is generating, setting it apart from the competition. That allowed us to see that the device was working and how much energy it was producing.
COMPARE OF THE BIG BLUE SOLAR CHARGER
Other than that, we found that it was remarkably, if not eerily, similar to two other top-rated solar chargers we evaluated. All three (the Anker 21 Watt PowerPort Solar charger, the Nekteck 28 Watt solar charger, and the BigBlue 28W USB Solar Charger) use the same basic design with two USB-ports and a light to indicate that they’re getting a charge; the Big Blue’s light indicator is the ammeter.
The solar cells in these foldable units are encased in PET polymer and surrounded by polyester canvas. Each offers moderate IPX4 water resistance — although you don’t really want to use these devices in the rain anyhow. They’re so similar they even use the same solar cells — SunPower’s Maxeon solar cells — which are among the most efficient commercially available solar cells and can convert up to 25 percent of the sun’s energy.
Each of these solar chargers had metal grommets in the casing, which allows you to attach them to a rock, backpack, tent, or camp chair. Each has a pouch where you can store the devices being charged and cords for charging your devices. None had kickstands or means to orient them to the sun properly, so you’ll have to get a little more creative, like propping them up on a rock, attaching them to your tent, or attaching them to your backpack to orient them properly to get the most power out of them in camp.
The Big Blue did better than the competition in tests, producing just under 950 milliamp-hours (mAh) of energy in an hour. In relatively similar conditions, the Anker produced 733 mAh, and the Nekteck produced 834 mAh. Without a dedicated test facility and control environment, it is hard to offer a complete scientific evaluation of the differences between these three since clouds could have obscured the sun for part of the testing periods.
In our experience, the Big Blue (or other similar solar panels) will integrate best into your outdoor lifestyle with the help of an external battery, like the Anker. The solar panel charges the battery, and then the battery provides a steady charge to reliably and safely charge your phone. See our section below on batteries for more details.
The Big Blue offered the highest power output among these three, and its cost is essentially the same as the Nekteck, so The Big Blue edged out the Nekteck as the best solar charger. It’s easy to use, well-priced, and offers enough portable power to charge a backup battery. Best yet, it is rugged enough to last for years.
Interested in backpacking gear? See our Backpacking section for our most popular stories.
The Best Solar Charger for Basecamping: Goal Zero Nomad 50
Weight: 6 pounds
Solar Cell Output Capacity: 50 watts
Power Output to Device: USB: 5V up to 2.4A (12W max)/8mm: 14-22V, up to 3.5A (50W Max)
Integrated battery: Goal Zero Sherpa 100 AC sold separetely
Ports: 1 2.4 Amp USB-A Port, 1, 3.3 Amp Solar Port in 8mm, 1, 3.3 Amp Solar Port out 8mm
What we liked: can be linked with other solar panels for even greater charging, kickstands to properly orient to sun, can almost fully charge 2 laptops
What we didn’t like: size and weight make best suited for camping, not backpacking
The Goal Zero Nomad 50 is a larger solar charger that also wins our award for Best Solar Charger for Car Camping and Best Solar Charger for Basecamping and our Best Upgrade Solar Charger award. At 50 watts, it’s the biggest and heaviest solar charger we tried. But if we were doing a couple of weeks in a high mountain cirque with fellow adventurers and we wanted to cut battery weight while keeping our electronics charged, this is the charger we’d choose.
Likewise, if we’re powering all the devices a family needs on a week-long camping trip and they don’t want to drain a car or RV battery, we’d turn to the Goal Zero as our solar charger of choice. Similarly, it’s a good choice for road tripping or overlanding off-grid. It could also be used to work a remote aid station during an ultramarathon or adventure race.
COMPARE OF THE GOAL ZERO NOMAD 50
The Goal Zero is an obvious choice for camping and basecamping for other reasons as well. It’s the only solar charger we evaluated that can be linked to other solar panels and the only one that can be attached in a series to provide even greater charging power to a battery power bank.
With solar cells covered in a polymer and the whole unit encased in a durable polyester, the Nomad is like the larger sibling of the three clones (Big Blue, Anker, and Nektek).
Instead of two cells per foldable solar panel, each of its four panels has 12 cells. It has one USB connector that can provide up to 12 watts of charging power, but it also has a Goal Zero solar port connector that allows it to provide up to 50 watts of charging power or connect to other Goal Zero panels. Like the BioLite solar charger, the Nomad also has kickstands to help ensure it’s properly oriented to the sun.
All of those extra features and solar cells add weight and size. Unlike the clones, the Nomad 50 would take up a significant portion of a backpack. Folded up, it’s almost a foot wide and nearly 1 foot and a half tall. That’s roughly the size of an average male’s torso, and it weighs 6 pounds, 14 ounces. Even if it were attached to the front of Frankenstein’s backpack, it would likely drag on the ground like an oddly stiff cape.
But once unfurled and set up in camp, it can provide enough energy to power a laptop and charge a significantly larger battery than the smaller chargers can power. When combined with a Goal Zero’s Sherpa 100AC power bank, it can charge in 6 or fewer hours in good sun. That 94.7 watt/hour battery includes an inverter allowing it to charge AC devices, like those that plug into a wall outlet. It can almost fully charge two 13” MacBook Pros on a single charge, and since it can deliver at higher wattages and voltages, it can provide higher charging speeds.
Interested in camping gear? See our Camping section for our most popular stories.
The Best Solar Charger with Integrated Battery: BioLite SolarPanel 10
Weight: 1 pound, 3.4 ounces
Solar Cell Output Capacity: 10 W
Battery Storage Capacity (mAH): 3,200 milliamp hours
Power Output to Device: 10 W via USB charge out
Integrated battery: Yes, Battery Storage Capacity (mAH): 3,200 milliamp hours
Ports: 1 Micro USB in 1 2.4 Amp USB-A out
What we liked: includes integrated battery that works as power bank, can pre-charge included powerbank, easy to align with sun to get the most efficient charge, designed to reduce overheating (that impacts efficiency)
What we didn’t like: would be more useful if it were 21W and had storage 10,000 mAH
Though the BioLite SolarPanel 10 is the smallest solar charger we tested at just 10 watts, it’s the most fully featured and the only solar charger we tested that came with an integrated battery that works as a power bank. The 3,200 mAh battery is slightly larger than the iPhone 11’s 3100 mAh battery and could provide an iPhone with a full charge. You can also charge the integrated battery power bank via micro-USB. So users can pre-charge it for adventures so they can charge devices at camp even if the sun’s obscured or down when they get there. Indeed, starting every adventure with fully charged devices and auxiliary batteries is key to getting the most out of your electronic charging system in the backcountry.
COMPARE OF THE BIOLITE SOLARPANEL 10
The SolarPanel 10 also has a radically different design than every other portable panel we tested and most others available. All of its solar cells are encased in a ruggedized, dimpled plastic. BioLite says its solar panel design helps dissipate excess heat, which can cause a solar panel to produce less power than it otherwise would.
Like the other small solar chargers we evaluated, the corners feature holes allowing users to attach them to a backpack or tent. But its analog Optimal Sun System, consisting of an analog sundial, as well as its rotating kickstand, play an important part in making sure you get the most from the charger at any given time.
By aligning the shadow of the dot in the middle of the window, you ensure that the device sends as much solar power to connected devices and the battery as possible. The kickstand clicks into place throughout its rotation, making it easy to adjust the pitch of the portable solar panel to get the optimal placement at any given time.
While we found all these features very useful, we found that when first deploying the solar panel, it didn’t want to stay open until after it warmed in the sun a bit. Also, if its ability to absorb sunlight was larger — even in the 21 watt range — and its energy storage capacity was larger, even around 10,000 mAh, it could have been the Overall Winner.
Both the Anker portable charger and Nekteck portable charger fell a little short of the Big Blue, our overall winner (see review above). Either offer a great value, but we think the Big Blue has the most to offer for the money.
Anker 21 Watt PowerPort Solar Charger
Weight: 14.7 ounces
Solar Cell Output Capacity: 21W
Power Output to Device: 21W to device via USB
Integrated battery: No
Ports: 2, 2.4 Amp USB-A Ports
The now discontinued Anker 21 Watt PowerPort Solar Charger may no longer be available, but we think it’s worth putting on your radar for a few reasons. First, it’s a near-clone of the Big Blue (see review above), our overall winner, so it’s a good example of the similarities between solar panels on the market. Second, it is still widely available on sites such as ebay for folks interested in buying a used solar panel.
One difference is that it was slightly smaller and lighter (15 ounces) than the Big Blue. The Anker produced a little less power in a given time in similar conditions, as expected. Its charging pouch also had a hook-and-loop closure rather than a zippered closure like the other clones. It didn’t include an ammeter. Ultimately, even when the Anker was available, we found the Big Blue to be a better choice given the amount of power it generated.
Nekteck 28 Watt Solar Charger
Weight: 1.44 pounds
Solar Cell Output Capacity: 28W
Power Output to Device: 28W via USB
Integrated battery: No
Ports: 2, 2.4 Amp USB-A Ports
Without the branding, from the outside, the Nekteck 28 Watt solar charger is essentially indistinguishable from the Big Blue. our overall winner (see review above). The specs are similar. Opened up, and without the ammeter, they look essentially identical, too.
However, in the end, it didn’t perform quite as well as the Big Blue — even though it uses the same solar cells and design. In relatively similar conditions, the Anker produced 733 mAh, and the Nekteck produced 834 mAh. It also has a claimed weight of 1 pound, 7 ounces — two ounces heavier than the Big Blue.
Understanding solar chargers
There’s a lot to understand about solar power chargers, but at their heart, a small solar panel consists of several photovoltaic cells grouped together to absorb some of the sun’s energy and convert it into an electric charge that you can use to charge electronics.
Modern, commercially available solar cells can harness nearly 25 percent of the sun’s energy that hits them into electricity. You’ll find this in the most efficient foldable chargers. When these cells are combined together into small solar panels, the solar cells can provide enough energy to recharge the batteries in USB devices and they can weigh under a pound, making them a lightweight option for backcountry adventures across the world.
Why choose a solar generator over other choices?
A portable solar charger is a lightweight and more compact means of electricity generation compared with other means of mobile energy generation. This is advantageous when on the trail and in remote locations because carrying multiple batteries and other means of electricity generation quickly becomes cumbersome as you add more energy storage to your pack. After all, no one wants to carry a gas generator — and gas — on their backs into the woods to provide power for all of their electronic devices. And while we’ve seen some portable wind and micro-hydro turbine generators, like the WaterLily Turbine. they’re also cumbersome, if not heavy. Solar panels are among eco-friendly gear swaps to reduce your environmental impact. especially if your base camp would otherwise run on a gas generator.
Solar chargers, combined with a power bank or backup battery pack — particularly those that can accommodate through charging (i.e., charging itself while charging devices) — are the best, lightest way to charge your electronic equipment.
While most adventurers are looking primarily for a portable phone charger, solar chargers can power:
- cameras and camera batteries
- GPS hiking and backpacking watches
- GoPros and other vlogging or podcasting equipment
- two-way satellite messengers and Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs)
- GPS units
- bluetooth speakers
- wireless headphones
- mountain bike lights
- sonar devices
Anytime you’re out for multiple days or weeks in the backcountry, you’ll likely have electronics that need charging. Solar panels work for camping, boating, climbing, bikepacking, mountaineering, and other activities.
Most mobile solar charging units have at least one USB port, making it easy to charge most devices and batteries people take into the wild. Still, many smaller solar chargers will struggle to provide enough power to charge multiple devices simultaneously.
Yes, Watson, Watts matter (or why watts matter)
The most important thing about a solar panel charger is its wattage. The more watts, the more sunlight the solar panel can absorb and the more electricity it can generate. If you only need to power your own devices and don’t plan on using them continually while on the trail, you may only need to charge them once every few days or even once a week. In that case, a smaller unit like the BioLite SolarPanel 10 with an integrated battery pack is an excellent choice, but the 10 watt foldable solar panel only has one USB port and wouldn’t be powerful enough to charge a family’s devices on a five-day trip.
On the other hand, our Best for Camping winner, the 50 Watt Goal Zero Nomad 50 Solar Panel. along with the Sherpa 100 AC battery. could handle the needs of a family on a week-long trip or a group of mountaineers exploring a range out for an extended period. The Goal Zero system is significantly larger, heavier, and much more expensive. But this system with this power bank battery has an AC plug and is the only one we considered that charges devices such as large laptops.
We don’t normally advocate getting rid of gear before its end of life, but in this case, if you have a backup battery or power bank that isn’t chargeable via USB, consider recycling it and replacing it with one that is. Similarly, consider USB chargeable devices like headlamps.
While you can use rechargeable AA and AAA powered headlamps, using one device or cable to charge most of your equipment can simplify your carry. When Intel’s Chief Systems Technologist Ajay Bhatt led the development of USB standards in 1996 and companies started using it, he essentially began a process of universalizing charging and connectivity for all devices. Now, USB technology allows us to easily recharge cameras and GoPros as well as smaller electronics like wireless earbuds.
How we Researched and tested
When researching the best camping solar chargers, we explored websites in the outdoor media sphere, and the tech and science spheres as geeks and gear heads are the most likely to use portable solar chargers to power their electronics.
We chose the models we tested based on reviews and articles we read and analyzed from other reliable sources, including Lifewire, Gear Institute, Backpacker, Wirecutter, The Adventure Junkies, Popular Mechanics, Outdoor GearLab, and others (see Sources). We also looked at verified customer reviews to gather data from professional reviewers and actual users.
How We Tested
We tested these foldable solar panels on multiple days in the field, at campsites, and at home, sometimes even hanging them out of a south-facing window on sunny days of full Colorado summer sunshine. Despite multiple uses and attempts, none of the solar chargers we tested reached the manufacturer’s claimed fully-rated wattages for maximum power output during our tests.
We attached each solar panel to a USB digital tester and various battery packs and other electronic devices we use in the backcountry, including GPS units, Bluetooth headphones, bike lights, headlamps, and more. We attempted to charge our iPhones and iPads directly but found they wouldn’t accept the charge since the power varied too much with the sun and clouds — even on some bluebird days. We found it was better to use them to charge a backup battery or power bank with through charging capabilities and then use that battery to charge our devices while it was charging via the solar panel.
We attempted to test some of the chargers while hiking but found that even though companies place attachment points on the solar chargers to attach them to backpacks, they didn’t perform well in real-world testing that way. We’ll explain why in another section.
We found that the digital USB tester wasn’t as applicable to the Goal Zero and BioLite contenders. This is because we couldn’t connect the digital USB tester to the higher wattage power cord of the Goal Zero, and the BioLite’s solar charge controller and portable battery power bank can provide a more conditioned stream of power from the battery.
When looking for a good solar charger, there are many things to consider. First and foremost, you’ll want to determine what you’ll use it for as well as how many devices it will power. Secondly, consider how long you’ll be in the backcountry and how much energy storage and battery capacity you want to carry.
We looked at a wide range of solar chargers and, in some cases, energy storage units (aka batteries). We also came up with some different conclusions than other review sites based on our knowledge and our anticipation of how you’ll actually be able to use a solar charger in the field.
For instance, unlike many other reviews and ‘best of’ lists we evaluated, we firmly recommend using solar chargers with backup batteries. Many high-end electronics like smartphones and tablets require a steady, regulated, or conditioned stream of electricity to charge. It helps limit the amount of damage that a surge or dip in solar power can do to the sensitive electronics inside the device.
Efficiency and power output
Efficiency and power output are two separate, but related, things. Efficiency refers to the efficiency of the solar cells in a panel and also the panel itself. The solar cells in the panel have a higher efficiency than the overall panel as some of the energy they capture is lost in transmitting energy through the wires and electronics of the solar panel. The most efficient commercial solar cells are around 24 percent efficient. A solar panel or charger, however will likely be in the range of 18 to 21 percent efficient.
Power output is measured in terms of wattage or how many watts of energy a solar panel can output. The more efficient a solar panel is means it can output more watts and amps from a smaller area. For charging devices you’ll want a solar panel that’s capable of producing at least 5 watts, however many highly portable solar panels produce up to 28 watts of charging power in ideal conditions. Higher wattages do equal more charging power—however, since most of these solar panels still use USB-A style plugs, they can only produce 2.4 amps of current through those plugs.
Portability and size
The smallest outdoor solar panels we evaluated are 5 watts. These are about the size of a medium tablet, like the BioLite SolarPanel 5. and weigh less than a can of beer. They can produce enough power to slowly charge a smartphone or other device. At 8 inches by 9.75 inches, they’re easy to slip into a day pack.
The largest portable solar panel we tested was the 6 pound Goal Zero Nomad 50. which folds down to just over 17 inches long by 11 inches wide and is well over an inch thick at its thickest parts, making it hard to fit in most backpacks. When set up it folds out to 53 inches wide. It was also the most powerful solar panel we tested and is capable of charging a battery that can charge laptops.
Durability and weather resistance
While these panels will last for years and even decades with proper care, they’re not designed to be left out in the elements like a permanent installation. They are encased in abrasion-resistant fabrics and plastics and are foldable.
The solar cells are encased in impact-resistant plastic and the units usually have an IPX4 water-resistant rating, meaning they can handle water splashes but not much more than that. That shouldn’t be a surprise since the majority of portable solar panels have standard USB-A ports with no waterproof cover.
The majority of the solar panels tested don’t have batteries. The BioLite SolarPanel 5 and BioLite SolarPanel 10 have 3,200 mAh batteries. That’s enough to charge an iPhone 13 or 14 one time. You can also pre-charge these batteries before you leave and use them to charge a device while it’s in your pack or at night and recharge the battery with the sun.
Direct solar charging speed
If the solar panel is optimally placed in full sun it should be able to produce its maximum wattage rating. In these cases, a panel like the Anker 21 Watt PowerPort Solar Charger should be able to provide enough energy to charge 2 USB devices simultaneously at 2.4 amps, the same as many 12-Volt USB adapters used in cars.
Multiple device solar charging speed
In ideal, full-sun conditions a 20 or more watt solar charger with two (or more) USB ports should be able to charge multiple devices at up to 2.4 amps like most 12-Volt USB adapters used in cars. A more powerful panel should be able to charge more, but the device has to be able to handle higher charging amperages like those that use USB-C connections.
Additional features and accessories
The majority of portable solar panels for camping are pretty minimal in terms of features. Most consist primarily of the panel and USB ports. Additional features include a for cables, grommets or loops to attach the panels to a pack or tent, and on some, stands to help keep the panel upright and at the right angle. A few, like the BioLite panels, have integrated batteries and they also have a little sundial that helps users properly orient the panel so that optimum sun hits the solar cells.
When it comes to accessories, there are two main accessories you can use with the solar panels, cords and batteries.
We highly recommend using these with a backup battery rather than plugging a Smart device directly to them. Some Smart devices limit the speed at which the devices can charge when dealing with a variable power source, like a solar panel. Backup batteries, however, can better harvest the variable currents flowing from a solar panel.
Price and value for money
The price of basic solar panels isn’t very high, about 67 for our Best Overall pick, the Big Blue 28W USB Solar Charger. If you have an existing backup battery and know you’ll be camping out for days and need extra power for your electronics when camp is set up, it’s a decent investment. If you’re hoping it’ll power your devices while strapped to the outside of your pack and hiking, you’ll be displeased. Despite advertising photos, even in sunny Colorado where we tested all the devices, these panels weren’t great at delivering power consistent enough to charge devices while hiking with them on a pack.
Integrated Battery or Power Bank
Unlike many other reviews and ‘best of’ lists we evaluated, we firmly recommend using solar chargers with backup batteries. Many high-end electronics like smartphones and tablets require a steady, regulated, or conditioned stream of electricity to charge. It helps limit the amount of damage that a surge or dip in solar power can do to the sensitive electronics inside the device.
In addition, carrying a pre-charged backup battery or power bank and a way to easily charge all your devices when you’re in town or your vehicle can reduce the amount of charging you’ll need to do on the trail. Pre-charging or recharging a backup battery or power bank via the wall or your vehicle will almost always be faster than charging via a solar panel.
The other two models we evaluated cost more. The BioLite, which is only a 10 watt solar panel, retails for 150. However, it’s also the only solar charger we tested with an integrated battery (sometimes called a portable solar power bank). It also has a kickstand, and a unique but simple mechanism called the Optimal Sun System, which helps orient the charger to get the maximum amount of sunlight available. It’s also unique in that it’s encased entirely in plastic.
The Goal Zero Nomad 50 Solar Panel. our winner for Best Solar Charger for camping (see review above) had the highest wattage of any unit we tested at 50 watts and was the most expensive unit we tested at 250. It was also the largest and heaviest, but it is the only one that can provide a charge at a higher wattage and voltage.
With panels this small, when the skies are gray, don’t expect much power output. The 50 watt, Goal Zero Nomad 50 should still produce enough energy to trickle-charge a smartphone but smaller panels will slow down to producing very small amounts of power, suitable only for trickle charging a backup battery.
Charging Tesla With Solar Panels? Use This Calculator To Find Right Amount
Tesla’s are steadily increasing in popularity, but with the fact that most electric cars are charged using coal-based power plants, many people wonder if charging Tesla with solar panels in a better, more eco-friendly option.
Or…wonder if it’s even possible to charge an electric vehicle with solar panels.
The answer is yes, it’s completely possible to establish the system for charging your Tesla with solar panels. You just need to know how many and how it works.
Measure the amount you’ll need using this solar panel Tesla calculator right now.
In fact, you can calculate your Tesla model’s carbon emissions as well, and find out exactly what the carbon footprint of your car is both with and without solar panels.
Tesla Inc. is a designer and manufacturer of electric vehicles and solar power solutions, and these products combine when charging Tesla with solar panels. 22
Tesla Inc. currently has four Tesla vehicles available, namely:
The Cybertruck and Roadster are currently open for reservation. 1
A plan is in the works to allow electric vehicles to be charged with printed, portable solar cells in regions where charging stations are scarce. 22
A Tesla Model 3 car will be navigating the coastline of Australia in September 2022 with only portable solar cells to power the journey.
At the end of the trip, a live map will have calculated the percentage of the journey that was powered solely by solar energy. 2
How Long Would It Take To Charge an Electric Car With a Solar Panel?
Other electric vehicles can also be charged with the use of solar panels. When calculating how long it would take to fully charge an electric car with the use of a solar panel, the battery size and voltage of the solar panel/s must be considered.
For instance, if the battery size is 54 kWh and the solar installation is 4kW, the panel would generate 3,400 kWh a year which equals 9 kWh a day.
By this calculation, 6 4kW-solar panels would be required to fully charge an electric car in one day.
If the driver of an electric car drives less than 40 miles per day, the car would not need to be charged to full capacity to reach maximum battery potential, as (for instance) 37 miles per day equals around 12 kWh of electricity. 3
Can You Charge an Electric Car With a Portable Solar Panel?
While it is not an easy feat to charge an electric car directory with portable solar panels because the DC current doesn’t go straight from the panels into the car’s battery system.
Also, a portable solar panel doesn’t produce as much energy as a traditional rooftop installed solar panel system.
However, with the use of a solar generator and portable PV panels, it is technically possible to charge an electric vehicle, but the process remains inefficient according to many users and reviewers. 23
Solar Panels Needed To Charge Electric Car
If portable solar panels are used to charge an electric car, the following calculation might apply: 8 solar panels producing 400 w each would be required to charge a Tesla that uses 18.1 kWh every 62.13 miles.
The average estimated mileage for American drivers is 13,476 miles, which means that a DC generation capacity of 3.2 kW would be enough.
This indicates that 9 portable solar panels should be used to charge an electric car that travels the estimated average mileage. 4
Solar Panel on Electric Car
While including a solar panel on the roof of an electric car is not considered to be the most efficient way to charge the vehicle, the first solar electric car was introduced in 2022, namely Lightyear 0.
The car features curved solar panels on the roof and hood and the power generated by the panels adds around 43 miles of driving range every day.
The idea behind the Lightyear 0 is to move electric cars completely away from electrical grids, which still mostly rely on fossil fuel energy. 5
In 2022, there are at least 7 other electric vehicles that sport solar roofs as well:
- Fisker Ocean
- Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX
- Hyundai Ioniq 5
- The Squad Solar City
- Aptera Sol
- Wolfgang Thundertruck
- Sono Motors Sion 6
Solar Panel for Plug-In Hybrid
A solar panel can also be used to power a plug-in hybrid vehicle. The Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid car comes with the most powerful solar roof panel on an electric vehicle to date.
The solar roof panel contains 80 monocrystalline cells that generate up to 120 W of power. This system powers the climate controls system and adds around 200 miles to the car’s range every year, without costing the driver anything extra. 7
Solar Charger for Plug-In Hybrid
A greener alternative to the traditional EV charger is a solar charger.
Solar chargers work with solar energy and can also power a traditional electric car charger that has been connected to the required equipment within an existing solar power system.
A solar charger consists of the following:
- Solar panels
- Electric vehicle supply equipment (interface, software, electrical conductors, and safety protocols)
- Battery storage system
Solar chargers provide reliability, cleaner energy, and cost savings. There are different types of solar chargers for electric cars as well: 24
This type of charger is combined with an inverter to transform DC to AC energy.
In the case of separate installations, microinverters are generally placed underneath each solar panel, which allows each panel to operate on its own. The inversion method allows for the number of microinverters to be expanded to the point where it can accommodate electric car charging. 8
Portable Solar Charger for Electric Car
Portable solar chargers consist of portable solar panels, batteries, and a converter. These batteries cannot be charged directly from the solar panels, which is why some portable solar chargers include an attached small solar panel.
These types of solar chargers are usually adequate in powering laptops and other small electronic devices, but because their power absorption capability isn’t high enough, they cannot charge electric cars like the Tesla Model X. 9
Best Time To Charge EV With Solar Panels
If there is a time-of-use (TOU) plan in place with the manufacturer of an electric vehicle, the price of electricity changes during the day as well as during the summer and winter seasons.
Along with TOU plans the basics of net metering, when used in relation to electric vehicles, means that full credits apply for unused solar electricity sold back to the utility.
By keeping these two factors in mind, the best time to charge an EV with solar panels can be established:
|Best Time To Charge EV With Solar Panels 10
|Net Metering With TOU
|Net Metering Without TOU
|Any time, however off-peak charging is ideal to minimize carbon intensity
|Net Billing With TOU
|Off-peak hours if off-peak savings is more than the difference between the retail rate and net billing rate. Otherwise, charge whenever the solar panels are producing solar energy.
|Net Billing Without TOU
|Charge whenever solar panels are producing solar energy
Charging Tesla With Solar Panels
Charging Tesla with solar panels is best when the rate is the lowest (on net metering plans). For some models, like the Tesla Model X, it is best to charge whenever the solar panels are producing the most solar energy.
Off-Grid Solar EV Charger
Wherever an electricity grid connection is unavailable, an off-grid solar EV charger comes in handy. One of the most popular off-grid solar chargers comes in the form of a transportable solar canopy with built-in EV charging capabilities.
PairTree, designed and manufactured by Paired Power, comes in 5 kW units which include 10 bifacial solar panels for each unit. The charging station offers Level 2 charging and is compatible with 120V outlet panels for emergency power.
PairTree delivers up to 75 miles of daily range and can be customized according to individual branding, lighting, and media requirements. 11
Can You Charge a Tesla Using Solar Panels?
Charging Tesla with solar panels is possible because the batteries of the electric vehicle can be used to store solar power. Already-installed solar panels for home applications can be used to charge Tesla vehicles.
Read About : How Much Do Solar Panels Cost In Your State? (Hidden Fees, Tax Credits)
How Many Solar Panels To Charge a Tesla?
When calculating the number of solar panels required to charge a Tesla, the following factors come into play: 25
For instance, a Tesla Model 3 consumes around 26 kWh per 100 miles. If the car travels 14,000 miles per year, it equals 38 miles per day.
It must also be noted that some energy is lost during the AC to DC power conversion as well as during charging losses in the battery. It is estimated that these losses total around 15% of electricity lost as heat.
The equation then looks like this:
(fuel economy in kWh per 100 miles) ÷ 100 miles x miles driven per day x 0.15
If the Tesla Model 3 drives 38 miles each day, the equation is as follows:
26 kWh ÷ 100 miles x 38 miles x 0.15 = 1.48 kWh
To calculate the required number of solar panels to charge a Tesla, the roof on which the solar panels are installed, the regional climate, and the efficiency of the solar panels must be factored into the calculation.
For example, if you add the following details to a relevant solar panel calculator, it will look like this: 12
Zip code 90210, roof with medium slope to south and no shade, monthly usage.
The calculation is as follows:
1.48 x 30 days = 44.46 kWh per month
Entering these figures into the calculator will see a result advising that a 2.26 kW system is required to power the 340 kWh per month.
This equals around 6 to 9 solar panels, depending on the efficiency of the panels. 13
Charging Tesla With Solar Panels: How Long To Charge a Tesla With Solar Panels?
Charging Tesla with solar panels takes a while – for instance, the Tesla Model 3 will require around 10 days of charge when solar panels are used.
It should be noted that solar panels are not used exclusively when charging Tesla cars, instead, it is used as a supplemental charging method.
Can You Charge a Tesla With Portable Solar Panels?
Currently, charging Tesla with solar panels is not a viable option, especially when it comes to portable solar panels.
The current technology doesn’t support exclusive charging of Tesla cars with portable solar panels, however, there are studies and plans in the works surrounding the future viability of portable solar panel charging for Tesla vehicles. 26
Charging Tesla With Solar Panels
While it is not viable yet to charge Tesla electric vehicles using portable solar panels, it is technically possible to charge these vehicles with a traditionally installed solar panel system.
The following factors determine the energy output of portable solar panels:
According to these factors, the estimated average output of a portable solar panel is around 150 – 200 watts.
(Kilowatt-Hour (kWh) = Watts x Time (hrs) / 1000
If a 200-watt panel is exposed to 7 hours of sun, it will generate 1.4 kWh. (This is the optimum output in direct sun).
Solar panels produce direct current, while Tesla charging ports require an alternating current. An inverter is therefore required to convert DC to AC, and this allows more voltage loss and less efficiency.
A Tesla battery usually holds a capacity of 100 kWh, which means the output of a single solar panel in one day will charge the vehicle to travel only 3 miles (hypothetically). In fact, because there is no guarantee of direct sunshine at all times, one week of non-stop charging will hardly allow for 20 miles. 14
How Long Would It Take for Solar Panels To Charge a Tesla?
Charging Tesla with solar panels would take anything from 8 hours up to 10 days. The process is dependent on the model of the vehicle, the amount of direct sun exposure, energy output, and how long it would take the batteries to reach full charging capacity.
Tesla Solar Home Charging Station
The Tesla solar home charging station, known as Powerwall, is an integrated battery system that preserves solar power for backup purposes.
Should a grid outage occur, the power stays on.
This system can automatically detect outages and recharge with sunlight to keep appliances and electronics going for several days.
DIY Solar Tesla Charger
It is also possible to build a DIY solar Tesla charger or a solar charging station for any electric vehicle. 27
DIY solar charging stations can be both on-grid or off-grid, and the off-grid option is the greener alternative.
The components required to build a DIY solar charging station include the following:
- Solar PV panels
- Solar inverter
- Charge controller
- EV supply equipment
The panels can be installed on a residential roof, garage roof, or a purpose-built structure.
If the DIY solar charging station is intended for a Tesla Model Y, the following requirements apply to charge the vehicle from a low battery:
- 20-10 hours with level 1 charger (120V outlet)
- 8-12 hours with AC level 2 charger (220/240V)
- 15-25 minutes with level 3 charger (480V Tesla Supercharger)
If the Tesla’s mileage is around 30 miles per day, it would consume 7.8 kWh every day according to the 0.26 kWh per mile range. The optimal DIY charger for this Tesla model would be a Level 2 AC charger (240V).
To achieve the 7.8 kWh or 10 kWh each day, 16.67 kWh is required in solar energy every day. In addition, 50% power requirements apply as well as 90% battery and inverter efficiency.
This goal requires 11 solar panels.
The total estimated cost of the components (including quantity) to build a DIY solar Tesla charger is indicated as follows:
|EV Supply Equipment
|Miscellaneous (including cabling)
How Many Powerwalls To Charge a Tesla?
To ensure functionality and operation during grid failures and power outages, at least one Powerwall is required for each 7.6 kW AC of solar energy that has been included in the backup circuit.
How Many Solar Panels To Charge a Tesla Powerwall?
On average, a single Powerwall requires a 6-kW system, which totals around 20 solar panels.
How Many Solar Panels To Charge a Tesla Powerwall 2?
When it comes to the Tesla Powerwall 2, there isn’t a certain required number of solar panels to keep it charged. 28 Smaller residential homes may need up to two panels, while larger homes may need up to four panels.
Powerwalls can also be installed without solar panels, using the electrical grid. While using regular electricity, the Powerwall keeps storing energy for later use, which keeps the electricity costs down.
Tesla Powerwall 2 Cycle Life
The Tesla Powerwall 2 comes in an AC and DC coupled version, with the AC version allowing for the use of any brand of solar inverters, including micro inverters.
The AC Powerwall 2 battery efficiency stands at 89% while the DC version is at 91.8%.
The Powerwall 2 warranty is as follows (including the operating limitation or cycle life):
|Operating Limitation 16
|Solar self-consumption/backup only
|70% at 10 years following the initial installation date
|Any other application or combination of applications
|70% at 10 years following the initial installation date
|37.80 MWh of aggregate throughput
How Many Solar Panels To Charge a Tesla Model 3?
To charge a Tesla Model 3 battery, around 5 solar panels are required to get 40 miles of range. When a higher driving range is required, more solar panels are needed.
This is based on the average solar panel with an output of 350 watts under the full sun (3 to 7 peak sun hours each day).
The solar panel produces between 1.05 to 2.45 kWh of electricity daily:
(350 x 3 at the low end / 350 x 7.5 at the high end) 17
Tesla Model 3 Solar Charging
The Tesla Model 3 is a flagship vehicle, and it was the best-selling car in the world in April 2020. There are three versions available, and it comes with features usually reserved for traditional vehicles, including automated lane switching and parking.
In addition to all its features, this Tesla model is also the company’s most affordable vehicle.
The average charging time for a Tesla Model 3 is around 7 hours. The following table indicates charge times for the different versions of the Tesla Model 3:
|Max Charge Rate
|Charge Time on Level 1 18
|Charge Time with JuiceBox 48 18
|All Electric Range 18
|Model 3 Standard Range Plus (2019)
|Model 3 Long Range (2019)
|Model 3 Standard Range Plus (2020)
|Model 3 Long Range (2020)
|Model 3 Performance (2020)
Charging Tesla With Solar Panels
To charge a Tesla Model 3 battery once a month, the following calculations apply:
9.3 kWh per day / 5 hours of sunlight per day = 1.86 kW to satisfy energy demands
Taking into consideration minor loss during power conversion, this should be divided by 78 percent:
1.86 kW /.78 = 2.38 kW
Then the number of kilowatts required should be divided by the power rating of the solar panels to calculate the average number of solar panels required: (the average domestic solar panel produces 250 watts). 29
2.38 kW /.25 kW = 9.52 solar panels
Tesla Powerwall 3 Price
Tesla Powerwalls cost anything from 12,500 to 87,500 depending on the number of Powerwalls required. The below table highlights the average cost per quantity, including applicable discounts:
|Number of Powerwalls
|Powerwall Cost 19
Tesla Powerwall Monthly Cost
In 2022, the average cost of a Tesla Powerwall is 11,050 and the Powerwall also qualifies for the 30% Clean Energy Credit. The different costs are indicated as follows:
- Powerwall without solar panels – 11,050
- Powerwall with solar panels – 28,276 (not counting state and federal tax incentives)
- Powerwall with solar roof – 21.85 per square foot 20
Some utilities offer the battery free of charge and then a monthly fee of 37.50 which adds up to an interest-free 14-year plan.
Does Tesla Powerwall Save Money?
Making use of the Tesla Powerwall ensures a reduction in energy bills which leads to money savings over the long term. The federal solar tax credit adds extra savings to the purchase of the Powerwall.
Tesla Powerwall Calculator
Calculating the return on investment for a Powerwall and its accompanying solar panel requirements depends on the following inputs:
One Powerwall can cost up to 6,700, excluding the estimated installation cost of 2,000. The more Powerwalls are installed for one purpose or residential home, the less the savings will be because savings only occur when peak usage exceeds the current storage capacity and generation abilities of the existing system.
Furthermore, the savings depend on hourly usage, production, hours/rates of the relevant power company, and average peak household use.
The following data can be entered into a calculator to determine savings:
- Imported grid usage data
- Solar data
- Solar production (estimate)
- Rate periods
- Number of Powerwalls
This data and relevant information about money spent on the Powerwall/s and solar systems will reveal the estimated return on investment. 21
Similar calculators can be used to determine and establish solar panel requirements (numbers), cost savings on EV solar charging, and other essential information especially when charging Tesla with solar panels.
How Can You Charge a Tesla With Solar Panels?
Install solar panels on house or garage roof and utilize the solar energy to power a Tesla vehicle.
Is Charging Tesla Model 3 From Solar Possible?
A Tesla Model 3 can be charged using roughly 6 to 10, 400W solar panels.
Is Tesla Powerwall Worth It?
A Tesla Powerwall can maximize savings on solar systems and help reach greener energy goals.
What Percentage Should a Tesla Battery Be Charged To?
Ideally it should be charged to the ‘daily range’ which is up to 90%.
Is Supercharging Faster Than Traditional At-Home Charging?
Yes, because superchargers avoid the onboard vehicle charge, and instead provides up to 120 kW of DC power to the battery.
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1 Tillman, M. (2022, August 29). Tesla models compared: Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck and morelint. Retrieved September 25, 2022, from
2 Kelly, Z. (2022, September 5). A Tesla Powered by Printed Solar Cells is Travelling Along Australia’s Coastline. Gizmodo. Retrieved September 25, 2022, from
3 Myenergi. (2022). How long does it take to charge an electric car with solar panels? Myenergi. Retrieved September 25, 2022, from
4 Bluetti. (2022). Can You Charge an Electric Car with a Portable Solar Panel? Bluetti. Retrieved September 25, 2022, from
5 Bloomberg. (2022, June 12). Introducing the world’s first solar electric car. Businesstech. September 25, 2022, from
6 Emir, C. (2022, June 3). Here are the top 8 electric vehicles of 2022 with solar roofs. Interesting Engineering. Retrieved September 25, 2022, from
7 Hall-Geisler. K. (2022). How Plug-in Hybrid Cars Work. How Stuff Works. Retrieved September 25, 2022, from
8 Hearst Autos Research. (2022, June 23). At Home Charging: Solar Electric Car Charger. Car And Driver. Retrieved September 25, 2022, from
9 Warren. (2021, April 28). Can I Use A Portable Solar Charger for Electric Car? Helius Energy. Retrieved September 25, 2022, from
10 The Solar Nerd. (2022, June 6). The complete guide to charging your electric car with solar power. The Solar Nerd. Retrieved September 25, 2022, from
11 Lewis, M. (2022, September 13). This modular off-grid solar EV charger can be installed in just four hours. Electrek. Retrieved September 25, 2022, from
12 The Solar Nerd. (2022). Enter your zip code to find rebates and get your cost of solar. The Solar Nerd. Retrieved September 25, 2022, from
13 The Solar Nerd. (2022, June 6). The complete guide to charging your electric car with solar power. The Solar Nerd. Retrieved September 25, 2022, from
14 Heathfield, L. (2022). Can You Charge a Tesla with Portable Solar Panels? Innovate Eco. Retrieved September 25, 2022, from
15 Mattinzioli, T. (2022, May 30). How To Build A DIY Solar EV Charging Station. Climatebiz. Retrieved September 25, 2022, from
16 Peacock, F. (2016, November 25). Powerwall 2 Full Spec Released: Low cost but ‘unlimited cycles’ warranty has limits. SolarQuotes. Retrieved September 25, 2022, from
17 Zientara, B. (2022, April 1). How and why to use solar panels to charge an electric car. SolarReviews. Retrieved September 25, 2022, from
18 ForMe Solar. (2022, June 6). Tesla Model 3 – EV Charging and Solar Panels. ForMe Solar. Retrieved September 25, 2022, from
19 Lutz, A. (2022, September 8). How Much Does the Tesla Powerwall Cost? (2022). Architectural Digest. Retrieved September 25, 2022, from
20 Iscrupe, L. (2022, August 31). Tesla Powerwall Review 2022. Save On Energy. Retrieved September 25, 2022, from
21 Medium. (2019, August 17). Nerdy Tool for Calculating Return on Investment for Tesla Powerwall and Solar. Bad Pirate. Retrieved September 25, 2022, from
22 US Department of Energy. (2022). Tesla. Energy.gov. Retrieved October 18, 2022, from
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25 CT Department of Consumer Protection. (2022). Solar Panel Purchases for Consumers. CT Portal. Retrieved October 18, 2022, from
26 National Library of Medicine Wong, J. Y. (2015, September). Ultra-Portable Solar-Powered 3D Printers for Onsite Manufacturing of Medical Resources. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved October 18, 2022, from
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30 Tesla Fans Schweiz. Unsplash. Retrieved from,
Electric Vehicles Solar EV Charging Stations
Drive with peace of mind after you pair your solar system with an EV charging station for maximum savings and energy efficiency. Using the power generated by your solar system, you can fully charge your EV within hours and save upwards of 1,000 a year compared to fueling a gas-powered car.
|Time To Charge
|Distance Added per Hour
|4 Miles per Hour
|20-30 Miles per Hour
|40-50 Miles per Hour
|1,000 Miles per Hour
Charge Your Electric Vehicle
Visit our Solar Design Center in Island Park to experience the fun, convenience, and value of driving electric. By test driving the top-rated electric vehicles in EmPower Solar’s fleet, including the BMW i3, Chevrolet Bolt, and Mitsubishi Outlander, you can determine which EV best suits your needs.
If you already have an EV, feel free to top off your battery at our charging station. Complimentary for guests of the Barnum Landing Shopping Center, sign in at our office Monday-Friday from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm for a free charge!
How long does it take to charge an electric vehicle?
AC Level 1
Varies based on car and location, but typically adds about 4 miles per hour and takes about 8-16 hours to fully charge.
AC Level 2
The most common home-charging option; adds 20-30 miles per hour and takes 6-8 hours to fully charge full EV cars, and less than 1 hour to fully charge most plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).
Also known as DC fast charging; adds 40-50 miles per hour depending on kW power of the charge unit and can charge 80% of your battery in as low as 30 minutes.
Tesla Superchargers charge at a rate of 250kW, or 75 miles in 5 minutes. Superchargers are available to Tesla customers only.
FAQs About Electric Vehicles Solar EV Charging Stations
Electric cars use electricity stored in a battery pack to power the electric motor. Since battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are run entirely on electricity, they are also called all-electric vehicles. While electric vehicles don’t produce tailpipe pollution, the electricity they use could be produced from a coal- or gas-powered power plant.
UCSUSA research shows that battery electric cars that charge off the gas-dominated grid still produce less pollution than their gas-powered counterparts, while BEVs powered by renewable energy sources are virtually emission free. To find out how you can pair your electric vehicle to a solar panel system and be completely energy independent, call us at 516-837-3459.
An electric car charging station starts around 499, with installation costs between 300-1,000 depending on the charger and electrical upgrades required. ClipperCreek, Leviton, Bosch, ChargePoint, eMotoWerks, Delta, and Siemens offer home charging stations. NYS and PSEGLI have incentives for charging stations. The current PSEGLI rebate is 500- about half the cost of an installed charger!
Our solar systems convert direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC), which is the form of electricity that both your home and electric vehicle use. If you already have a solar system you only need to purchase an electric vehicle charging station in order to route the power from your solar panels to your electric vehicle via a charging port.
This depends on the range and capacity of your electric vehicle’s battery, as well as your home’s viability for solar panels. A typical homeowner driving 12,000 miles a year will need about 3,500 kWh a year to power their vehicle, equivalent to a 2-5kWh solar system depending on how much sun their house gets. This amount of power could be generated by 5-12 solar panels. Our team of experts can help you determine the exact amount depending on your vehicle.
Electricity costs 21 cents/kWh at your home if you live on Long Island or New York City. With solar panels you could pay as low as 8 cents/kWh, taking into account the levelized cost of energy. Charging at a public station could cost up to twice as much as home with all-in rates of up to 50 cents/kWh or more due to hourly rates/charge fees.
|EV charging at a public station
|0.29 – 0.79/kWh
|EV charging at home without solar panels
|EV charging with home solar panels
|0.08 – 0.15 cents/kWh LcOE
There is a federal tax credit for 2,500-7,500 per new EV purchase, lowering the upfront cost of buying the vehicle. New York’s Charge NY initiative offers a Drive Clean Rebate of up to 2,000 for new car purchases or leases. E-ZPass offers a special 10% discount to Hybrid vehicles getting at least 45 to the gallon and meeting super ultra-low emissions vehicle (SULEV) standards. Visit e- zpassny.com for a list of eligible EVs.
Workplace charging provides a reliable opportunity for commuters to own and drive EVs without worrying about the hassle of finding public charging stations.
Step 1: Employer executes ChargePoint host site rebate agreement Step 2: Employer executes Charge to Work NY Employer Participation Agreement, has low-cost EV charging stations installed at the workplace. Step 3: Employees execute Charge to Work NY Employee Participation Agreement, receive vehicle rebates upon purchase/lease of EV
Earn with your EV
Exclusive offers for EV charging
When you charge your electric vehicle overnight during off-peak hours, you can earn unlimited cash incentives with ConEd’s SmartCharge New York program. Investing in a Level 2 Smart Charger with PSEG LI will not only enable you to charge your EV faster, but you can also receive a 500 rebate. Learn more about EV and EV charging with our free EV guidebook.
EmPower Solar EV Guidebook
Specifically created for PSEG and ConEd customers on Long Island and in New York, our comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about EVs and EV chargers.
Calculate Your Savings
Use NYSERDA’s calculator to compare an EV with a gas-powered vehicle of your choice and learn more about how cost-effective EVs charged with solar power can be.
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You don’t need solar panels or a wind power system to use the zappi. But purchasing it today, means you’re future fit for tomorrow.
zappi is an EV charger with a difference. zappi can operate as a standard home car charger, using power from the grid. It also has optional charging modes which use 100% green energy generated from your own home Solar PV system or wind generation.
Using your own power generation increases the Return On Investment (ROI) for your panels and electric car. And means that you can charge your EV at home for free! zappi is easy to install and user friendly. But don’t worry, if you don’t have solar panels installed, the zappi will still operate as a standard car charger harnessing power from the grid.
EV charger designed in the UK
Being the first-ever solar EV charger of its kind, our innovative team has carefully designed features and functions to give you complete control of your electric car charging experience. Paired with the myenergi app, you can set timers to utilise economy tariffs with our electricity provider. You can also use the boost function, monitor your devices, and so much more! A future proof, intelligent electric car charger conceived and evolved in the UK.
#1 solar charger
Be future ready with the zappi home car charger.
Three EV charging modes
zappi provides you with tailor made charging to suit your lifestyle and demands. Whether you need a “fast” charge to get you going in a hurry, or are happy to wait for your charge to take place using 100% renewable energy. zappi gives you the flexibility to charge on your terms.
The eco charge mode is a mixture of both green energy and energy imported from the grid. eco mode minimises the use of grid power, generally taking advantage of cheaper rates overnight, but can also charge using 100% green energy. Essentially giving you the ability to charge up your car for free! The charging power is continuously adjusted in response to changes in generation or power being used elsewhere in the home.
If the surplus generation drops below 1.4kWh some power will be drawn from the grid to top it back up.
eco charging is very similar to eco charging in that it can utilise power from the grid or your own power source. However the charge power is continuously adjusted in response to changes in generation or power consumption elsewhere in the home. Your electric car charging will pause if there is too much-imported power, continuing only when there is surplus free power available.
In fast mode, your vehicle will be charged at maximum power. This power can come from a renewable energy source or simply from the grid. The cost of charging an electric car also depends on numerous factors including mode and the car itself.
If you don’t have solar panels or wind generation, zappi will charge just like an ordinary Mode 3 charging point.
At certain hours ‘time of use energy tariffs’ are significantly cheaper. With zappi, you can use the ‘boost timer’ option to start charging at times with the lowest rates. It’s a cost-saving charging alarm clock for your EV!
No earth rod
zappi is the only EV charger with built-in PEN fault technology. It’s the safest choice for an electric car charger, eliminating the need to install additional earth rods means no extra costs an easy install.
zappi works in harmony with your Solar PV or wind generation, meaning you can charge your car using green energy for free. If you haven’t got a renewable energy source at home, zappi works just like any other charger in ‘fast mode’.
The myenergi app allows you to access and control your devices from anywhere in the world! Visual graphs allow you to monitor your import/export information all in one place.
A 5 digit pin code is a security feature integrated into this Smart electric car charging point, should you wish to use it. It prevents people from changing your settings or using your solar EV charger without permission or tampering.
EV charger that comes with a 3 year warranty
As well as having our excellent technical support team on hand to answer any of your questions and queries, zappi also comes with a 3-year warranty. Once your myenergi zappi has been installed, please register your individual products to take full advance of the 3-year warranty support.
zappi utilises your self generated power for EV charging
A solar EV charger works by allowing you to use excess solar to power up your car. Generating solar energy requires solar panels (PV) to be fitted to your home or place of work, but the energy generated through the solar panels is totally free, essentially giving you free miles! Light energy produced by the sun is called a photon. It is the most basic, fundamental particle of all light. It is these photons in natural daylight that are converted by solar panel cells to produce electricity. This small bundle of electromagnetic energy is constantly in motion. Simply put, a solar panel works by allowing photons, or particles of light, to bounce into electrons, setting them free from atoms, generating a flow of electricity.
Our eco technology makes intelligent decisions based on your self generated power and the energy tariff you are signed up to. This allows your myenergi devices to optimise for drawing energy from the grid at the lowest possible rate per kWh.
Charging your vehicle safely
Exceeding all safety standards
Safety is of paramount importance. Every myenergi product is engineered to the highest standards possible in terms of energy efficiency, but we place equal importance on safety.
Whilst we adhere to all industry safety standards, we are always looking to provide the safest experience possible for our installers and users. That’s why we were the first to introduce the PEN fault testing ahead of every other manufacturer.
Manage monitor your energy usage
Every myenergi device is designed to be connected. This means you can monitor everything in one place from the myenergi app as well as adjust settings, timers and boost functions as required. Control your myenergi devices 24/7 from anywhere with the myenergi app