Skip to content
Here are the top 8 electric vehicles of 2022 with solar roofs. Solar electric roof panels

Here are the top 8 electric vehicles of 2022 with solar roofs. Solar electric roof panels

    Here are the top 8 electric vehicles of 2022 with solar roofs

    With the increased interest in renewable and sustainable energy systems, and of course, electric-powered vehicles, solar-powered cars have come to the fore. Many automobile companies are working towards making solar-powered vehicles.

    Solar-powered vehicles are electric vehicles that use photovoltaic cells to convert energy from sunlight into electricity. These vehicles can store some solar energy in batteries to allow them to run smoothly at night or in the absence of direct sunlight. If used on a large scale, solar-powered vehicles not only help with environmental pollution but also noise pollution.

    Many prototypes of solar-powered cars are currently in development, and some are even produced.

    Stay ahead of your peers in technology and engineering. The Blueprint

    Both large and small automakers are involved in developing hybrid solar cars. According to estimates. the solar vehicle market could reach 689 billion by 2027. Automobile companies are already working on ways to capitalize on the idea with interim technology, such as solar roof panels for charging batteries and internal systems.

    Here are the eight electric vehicles with solar roofs, that are able to charge themselves while on the way.

    Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX

    The iconic German automaker debuted the Vision EQXX in January at Consumer Electronics Show (CES), having teased the luxury electric vehicle (EV) several times in recent months. The electric concept sedan boasts a range of 620 miles (1,000 km).

    Mercedes already has a luxury EV sedan on the verge of entering the market, the 441-mile-range EQS. With the EQXX, it promises to go further, achieving a drag coefficient of 0.17 compared to the EQS’s 0.20.

    One of the standout features of Mercedes’s new luxury EV concept is its 117-cell solar panel roof, which charges ancillary systems in the car, allowing for extra range. The solar roof was developed as part of a collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE. According to Mercedes, on a day with ideal conditions, the solar roofing can add up to 15 miles (25 km) of range. As per Mercedes’s statement, this, as well as the battery innovations and aerodynamic design, make the EQXX the most efficient Mercedes-Benz ever built.

    Fisker Ocean

    The U.S.-based electric carmaker Fisker’s Ocean SUV has an option for a solar roof with the Extreme model. Impressively, it can roll back simultaneously with every window via the car’s California mode. While global window opening isn’t unique to the Ocean SUV, we can’t think of another company that has implemented it at this scale.

    The standard Ocean model will start at a price of 37,499. It will come with front-wheel drive, have a range of 250 miles (402 km), and produce 275 horsepower.

    The 49,999 Ocean Ultra produces up to 540 horsepower, goes from zero to 60 mph (100 kph) in 3.9 seconds, and has a bigger battery, giving it a range of 340 miles (547 km). The top of the tier, however, is the Ocean Extreme, which has a range of 350 miles (563 km) and will generate 550 horsepower. The Ultra and the Extreme both feature four-wheel drive.

    Hyundai Ioniq 5

    Hyundai joins the solar-powered party with a car geared toward sustainability and futuristic mobility with its new IONIQ 5. The car will be available with two battery sizes and two drivetrains. A 72.6-kWh battery that produces a combined power output of 225-kWh and 605 Nm of torque. Combined with the all-wheel-drive option, the IONIQ 5 can reach top speeds of 115 mph (185 km/h). The two-wheel-drive option, meanwhile, enables the longest range, reaching around 300 miles (480 km), with the largest battery option. Hyundai says the vehicle’s solar panel option can help extend the range up to 1240 miles (2,000km) per year (around 3 miles per day) of additional range if it’s driven in locations that see a healthy amount of sunny days per year.

    Aptera Sol

    Aptera’s Sol is a solar-powered three-wheeler EV and a sight for sore eyes.

    Driven by the power of the Sun, as Aptera Motors states on its website. the automaker’s new three-wheeler EV will have a range of up to 1,000 miles (1,609 km) with a full charge.

    here, electric, vehicles, 2022

    The two-person (and one pet) vehicle boasts a solar panel roof array and can provide up to 45 miles (72 km) of range per day. The vehicles charge with their solar panels in park mode.

    The company released a specs sheet. which explains the sEV (solar EV) can go from zero to 60 mph (96 kph) in 3.5 seconds while in all-wheel drive at 150 kW. And it can go from zero to 60 mph (96 kph) in 5.5 seconds in front-wheel drive. It has a top speed of 100 mph (160 kph).

    Lightyear One

    Dutch startup Lightyear recently unveiled a prototype for what they say is the first car capable of taking us long distances while powered only by the Sun.

    The company claims that the car has a range of 725 km (WLTP). According to Light Year, their car uses 83 Wh/km (WLTP) and accelerates from 0-60 mph (0-100 kph) in ten seconds.

    Aside from its solar power recharging, the car can also be charged at charging stations and at regular outlets. Only with sunlight Light Year One can charge at 12 km/h. With 60 kW fast charging, the car’s efficient charging allows it to charge up to 570 km/h.

    The numbers on Lightyear’s website suggest that we aren’t as far as some might think from seeing long-range SEVs. The company claims its first model consumes only 83 Wh/km — three times less than any other EV on the market today. Using the solar panels on its roof, it can currently charge at a rate of 12 km per hour.

    The Squad Solar City

    The Squad Solar City is not your typical electric vehicle. Firstly, it’s charged by a single solar panel on its roof. Secondly, its makers, Squad Mobility, refer to it as a NEV, a neighborhood electric vehicle.

    The name Squad comes from Solar Quadricycle, which neatly reflects the vehicle’s specific design for the shared mobility market. Users need no driving license to drive the car, whose creators have just announced a list of new updates.

    The car can reach top speeds of 28 mph (45 kph) or 50 mph (80 kph) depending on the model. A full roll cage with seat belts and 4-wheel stability makes it a safe ride.

    Sono Motors Sion

    Sion is a hybrid electric vehicle made by German startup Sono Motors that charges itself using solar energy. The 248 solar cells integrated into its body mean it can be completely self-sufficient in driving over short distances.

    The car can go up to 155 miles (249 km) on a single charge and adds around 21 miles (33 km) of charge per day via its solar panels.

    What’s more, Somo Motors uses 100 percent renewable sources of energy for the car’s components and building process. The car is selling for an estimated price tag of 28,500.

    Wolfgang Thundertruck

    The Thundertruck is an electric off-roader concept with dashing, futuristic features including bat wing-shaped solar panels.

    The 800-horsepower Thundertruck EV boasts a 180 kWh battery, a 400-mile (640 km) range, and an 800 lb-ft of torque. What’s more, it can go from 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. The truck comes in two models, 4×4 and 6×6. The company website states that Our state-of-the-art TT Range Extender easily converts the Thunde rtruck into a 6WD monster that quietly delivers unparalleled power and performance.

    How Much Roof Space Is Needed For Home Solar Panels?

    When it comes to residential solar panels, your home’s roof is the most obvious place to put them. But it’s easy to get confused about how much roof space is needed for solar panels in order to install a home solar power system. Not all roofs are constructed to the same size or specifications, and some homes have roofs with steeper pitches, while others have roofs with more faces or odd shapes.

    We’d love to tell you a simple formula for the exact amount of square footage that is required for a certain number of panels, but it’s not quite that simple. Each residential solar panel array is custom designed to match the homeowner’s needs and the unique size, shape, and dimensions of their roof, so the square footage that’s needed is going to depend on a number of factors.

    If you’re wondering, “How many solar panels will fit on my roof?” then here are a few things to consider.

    How To Calculate The Solar Potential Of Your Roof

    There are a few rules of thumb you can follow that can offer a general idea of how much roof space is needed for solar panel installation. These guidelines can also help determine how much roof space you have available to put solar panels on.

    Generally, every square foot of roof space has the potential to generate about 15 watts of solar energy. Thus, a solar panel installation on a small home might only need around 200 square feet of roof space, while a larger home can require more than 1,000 square feet of roof space to properly offset electricity usage.

    To offset an average amount of energy usage by the average American home, you’ll typically need around 18 to 24 panels to be effective. That is, of course, if everything about those panels is ideal, where the positioning is optimal, the panels are of a standard rating, and the location gets adequate sunlight year-round. If you change any of those variables, the number of panels you need is going to change as well.

    If you want to get a sense of how many panels a roof can support, you don’t need a fancy solar panel square footage calculator. Here’s an easy calculation you can do: Multiply the square footage of your roof by.75 to account for the required solar setback. ( on that below.) Take that number, and divide it by 17.5, which is the average square footage of the standard solar panel size. The resulting number is the maximum number of solar panels you can fit on your home’s roof.

    If you’re not sure of the square footage of your roof, there’s another relatively easy calculation you can do: First you need to know the dimensions of your roof from ground level. You can measure two sides of your roof from the ground, and then multiply those numbers together to get the square footage. If your roof isn’t flat, you need to account for the angle of your roof as well, so measure the angle from the ground (most smartphones have angle measurement apps that you can use) or just use 35 degrees to get a rough estimate if you don’t have an unusually steep or shallow roof. Then take the square footage that you measured from the ground and divide it by the cosine of your roof’s angle to get the total square footage. If you need a solar panel square footage calculator, you can click this link to get a sample calculation for a roof that measures 400 square feet from the ground, and has a 35 degree angle, and then just change those values to match the measurements that you take.

    How Close Can Solar Panels Be To The Edge Of The Roof?

    Most roof-mounted solar installations will need a “solar panel setback” for safety. This is one of the most common roof requirements for solar panels in local and state building codes. This setback is the open space between the edge of the solar array and the edge of the roof, and it provides an unobstructed pathway around your rooftop for emergency responders like firefighters to get better access to your home in case of an emergency.

    The minimum solar panel setback varies from state to state, but generally, the setback will take up about 25 percent of your roof’s usable space. This accounts for two roughly 36-inch wide pathways that run along the edge of your roof, on a roof with just two basic faces. If your roof is more complicated than that, with multiple faces, or different shapes that come together at odd angles, your setback requirements may be different, which is why it’s important to work with solar professionals when designing your home solar power system. Palmetto’s team of solar designers not only make sure your roof space is optimized for power production but that it also meets the requirements of all jurisdictions as well.

    Factors to Consider When Determining How Many Solar Panels You Need

    When determining how many solar panels you need, it’s important to start by thinking about what your goals are and why you want to go solar in the first place. Do you want to maximize your return on investment? Do you want to save as much money as possible? Do you want to reduce your upfront costs? Do you want to have the biggest environmental impact and reduce your carbon footprint as much as possible? Most people want a balance of these goals, and may have other priorities as well, so it’s helpful to get a clear idea of what your specific end goals are before you start designing a solar power system.

    Once you have your goals in mind, then you can determine how many solar panels you need to get there. This calculation is going to depend on how much energy your family uses, how much roof area you have available for solar panels, the location of your home and the angle of your roof, how much sunlight shines in your part of the country, the efficiency of the solar panels you’re using, and if your local utility offers net metering. Plus, you also need to consider your budget, because a large solar power system might produce more energy, but it’s going to cost more for the initial installation as well.

    Here are a few things you should think about when determining how many solar panels you need for your roof.

    Energy Usage

    How many solar panels you’ll need, and thus how much roof area for solar panels you’ll need, starts with an estimate of how much power you use in a given year. There are plenty of ways to determine your annual energy usage, but the easiest is to simply take a look at your current monthly energy bill. It should tell you how many kilowatt-hours of energy you use in a given month, then just multiply that number by 12 to get an annual estimate. If you don’t know your own estimated energy usage, a good starting number is that the average American home uses about 11,000 kWh of energy every year.

    You should also consider any potential changes to your family’s energy usage in the future that you might want to account for. For example, if you buy a new electric vehicle that you plan to charge at home, or if you start working from home more often, or if you expand your family with a new child, your energy needs might change pretty significantly from the previous year.

    Location (How Much Sunlight You Get)

    Different parts of the country get different amounts of sunlight. For instance, Arizona is famous for intensely sunny days. On average, Arizona gets 300 days of sunshine every year. Conversely, Juneau, Alaska, spends more than two-thirds of the year in darkness.

    This impacts how much roof space is needed for solar panels, because depending on where you live, you’ll need more or fewer solar panels. So if you live somewhere with lots of sun, you might only need enough roof space for a few solar panels. But if you live in Juneau, you’ll need lots of solar panels on your roof to harness the available energy.

    The direction of your roof also determines how many solar panels you need, as southern-facing roofs in the northern hemisphere are ideal, as they receive more direct sunlight and can use that sunlight to create more energy. If your roof does not face south, you may either need a more complicated installation to get your panels facing the right direction, or you may need more panels to make up for the difference in energy-creating potential.

    Size and Rating of Your Solar Panels

    Solar panels can vary in size and rating, leading to different sized systems for the same amount of energy output. Some panels might be smaller but have a higher watt rating, which means they’re more efficient than a larger panel with a lower rating. That’s why you must consider the efficiency of the panels when determining the total solar panel system size for your roof.

    While the efficiency of solar panels might vary, solar panel sizes typically don’t, as most companies have a standard solar panel square footage to make installation easier. The standard solar panel size dimensions are about 65 inches by 39 inches, which is roughly 17.5 square feet.

    Your Solar Budget

    Generally, larger systems are a great way to quickly offset your current electrical and fossil fuel energy usage. However, larger systems are naturally more expensive. While you may have the roof real estate for a large array, you might not have the financial budget for it, and vice versa.

    Another thing to consider when figuring out your budget is whether your local utility offers net metering, and what rate they offer for that net metering. If you’re not familiar, net metering is when your utility company offers you credits for the extra energy that your system produces and feeds back into the grid. These credits can then be used to offset the cost of power that you might need to draw back from the grid, such as at night or during storms if you don’t have a battery storage system. If your local utility offers a generous net metering policy, it may allow you to expand your initial budget and then make up that difference over time.

    Is It Possible To Install Too Many Solar Panels?

    Believe it or not, it’s not always beneficial to install as many solar panels as you can possibly fit on your roof. Adding extra panels that aren’t needed just increases the cost of your initial investment, and if you don’t have a way of capturing or getting credit for the extra energy that you’re generating but not using, then you’re not getting a good return on that investment.

    A good solar installation should offset as close to the exact amount of energy that you use as possible. That’s why we typically ask for samples of previous power bills when designing a system. These power bills help us estimate your power requirements, and design a system that matches your specific needs. Some months you might use more energy than your system produces, and some months you might use less energy than you produce, but at the end of the year, the goal is to generate about the same amount of energy as you use.

    That said, there are some instances where it makes sense to install more solar panels to generate more energy than you plan on using. The first is if you plan on installing an energy storage system to capture that excess energy. Solar battery storage lets you use the energy you generated during the day to power your home at night, and also gives you a backup source of power in case you have a blackout or other issue.

    Another time that you might want to generate more power than you plan to use is if your utility offers a strong net metering benefit. Net metering is when the utility gives you credit for the extra electricity that your solar power system produces and then feeds back into the grid, and this can help offset the cost of any electricity that you pull from the utility when your system isn’t generating electricity, like nighttime or during large storms.

    In general it’s not possible to install too many solar panels (as long as your roof has space for them) but there just might not be a significant advantage to doing so.

    How To Put Solar Panels On Your Roof

    Your home’s roof space is just one of the factors that determines the optimum solar power system for your family’s needs. The arrangement of panels and the difficulty of the installation is determined by your roof, but you also need to consider your family’s energy needs, any future changes that your family might expect, your local incentives and net-metering programs, and a variety of other factors. Fortunately, Palmetto can help figure out the precise number and type of panels that will work best for your roof, and make it easy to get a system that’s perfectly matched to your family’s needs.

    To find out how many panels you can put on your roof, get started with a free solar estimate, and a Palmetto solar expert will help design a system that’s just the right size to meet your energy goals.

    Solar Panels by Sunrun

    Learn about our best-in-class solar products and services.

    Experience Peace of Mind for Decades to Come with Sunrun Rooftop Solar Panels

    When you team up with a solar company like Sunrun, you can create your own affordable, clean energy and gain independence from your utility company. A Sunrun solar installation can help power your home when the sun is out while you boost control over your energy usage and reduce your dependence on fossil fuels.

    We offer several residential solar plans to help you start your solar journey. Find out which is the ideal fit for your budget and unique energy needs.

    We offer some of the best solar rooftop panel systems on the market, and you can bring them home through a lease payment plan, flexible solar financing, or by paying outright. Our made-to-fit solar solutions, paired with exceptional service and our industry-leading solar guarantee, have positioned us as the leading residential solar and energy storage company in the U.S. 1

    Solar panels are just one part of the solution to experience energy freedom and security. To ensure you get the most out of your home energy system, consider adding a solar battery back-up service like Sunrun’s Brightbox. Hundreds of millions of people were affected by blackouts from 2008 to 2017. 2 With Brightbox, you can keep your lights on and your food fresh during outages with a Smart, affordable, and reliable back-up power system.

    Benefits of Adding Sunrun’s Battery Storage Service to Your Solar Panels

    Brightbox doesn’t need dangerous, expensive, and toxic fossil fuels to work. 3 When the sun is out, it can store clean and affordable back-up power for later use.

    Brightbox paired with a Tesla Powerwall can help you back up your entire home, or you can back up just the rooms you need with an LG Chem solar battery.

    Tesla Powerwall and LG Chem solar batteries can last anywhere from 10 to 15 years, and they typically come with a 10-year manufacturer warranty for your peace of mind.

    Solar with incentives

    Our Automated Site Modeling tool is a revolutionary technology that allows us to design a custom Sunrun home solar energy system based on your roof’s unique dimensions and layout.

    Sunrun’s Automated Site Modeling tool will use your roof’s individual profile, including shading, pitch, sun exposure, seasonality, and roof obstacles. This will ensure that the designed Sunrun solar panel system matches your home’s structure and unique energy needs. A customized system can let you know your potential control over your future electricity bills

    Sunrun’s Product Selector is an innovative and simple tool. It lets you know in minutes which solar plan, with or without a home battery, can give you and your family more benefits in the long run, depending on where you live.

    Sunrun’s Product Selector will use information about your roof’s type and pitch, your household size, and other important aspects, like if you have a home office or if you need back-up power, to recommend the best Sunrun home solar plan for you. This can help secure the peace of mind you deserve during rising energy costs and power outages while reducing your carbon footprint.

    Does my state offer incentives to go solar?

    See the states where Sunrun is currently available and the solar incentives that might be offered where you live. Some of the most common solar incentives include tax credits, property tax exemptions, and rebates. No matter what state you live in, you may be eligible for the Federal Solar Tax Credit (ITC) if you decide to purchase a home solar energy system.

    You can get a Sunrun monthly plan to lease your solar panels or prepay for your renewable energy through a solar power purchase agreement or PPA plan. As a result, any incentive savings you would receive through tax credits and rebates with a system purchase can be passed to you in the form of a lower solar bill.

    How do solar panels work?

    You can’t talk about solar panels without talking about silicon. Silicon is a non-metallic element and the second-most abundant material on earth. 4 It can also convert sunlight into electricity, and it’s a key component in a solar system (also known as a photovoltaic, or PV system). 5

    Solar panels, solar cells, or PV cells, are made by slicing crystalline silicon (also known as wafers) that are millimeters thin. These wafers are sandwiched between protective glass, insulation, and a protective back sheet, which make a solar panel. The back sheet helps to regulate the temperature and humidity to optimize the solar panel’s efficiency. 6 Multiple solar panels connected together create a solar array, and ultimately, a solar system.

    Then there’s the physics of how solar cells work: Electricity is made when electrons move between atoms. The top and bottom of a silicon wafer in the solar cell are treated with small amounts of atoms of extra materials—such as boron, gallium, or phosphorus—so that the top layer has more electrons and the bottom layer has less. When the sun activates the electrons in these oppositely charged layers, the electrons move through a circuit attached to the panels. This flow of electrons through the circuit is what generates the electrical current that ultimately powers a home. 7

    What are the different types of solar panels?

    Monocrystalline solar panels:

    Monocrystalline solar panels have the highest efficiency and power capacity out of all other types of solar panels. Another reason why people choose them is because of how they look. The solar cells within monocrystalline panels are square-shaped and have a single, flat black color, making them the most popular type of solar panels among homeowners. 8 Sunrun uses monocrystalline PV modules in all its home solar systems.

    Polycrystalline solar panels:

    The manufacturing process of polycrystalline solar panels is less costly than monocrystalline panels, but it also makes them less efficient. Usually, polycrystalline solar panels don’t have the corners cut off of them, so you won’t see the large white spaces on the front of the panel that you see on monocrystalline panels. 8

    Thin-film solar panels:

    Thin-film solar panels are less costly and easier to install than their counterparts. Still, they aren’t the best option for a home solar installation due to their efficiency, lightweight material, and durability. 8

    How long do solar panels really last?

    When you consider investing in a solar installation, you might wonder how long home solar panels last. Studies show that solar panels can last anywhere from 20 to 30 years, or sometimes longer. 9 Still, this doesn’t mean the panels on your roof will stop producing electricity after a couple of decades. It just means their energy production will decrease by what solar panel manufacturers consider optimal to meet the average household’s energy needs.

    Do home solar systems have a warranty?

    All of our solar equipment is backed by factory warranties. On top of that, our monthly solar lease plan and prepaid solar plan (also known as a solar PPA) come with 24/7 proactive monitoring and free maintenance on us. If we notice that your rooftop panels or solar battery aren’t working at their full capacity, we’ll send an expert over to fix it without you lifting a finger. This benefit sets Sunrun apart from the other solar installers in the country.

    How does Automated Site Modeling work?

    After you enter a few details about your home, our Automated Site Modeling tool will analyze hundreds of thousands of variables in home solar system designs to build a high-resolution image of the ideal system for your roof. These factors include your home’s pitch, seasonality, sun exposure, shading, and roof obstacles. This helps Sunrun guarantee you receive maximum benefits from your new home solar system.

    How does Sunrun’s Product Selector work?

    After you answer a few simple questions about your home’s details, lifestyle, and electricity usage, Sunrun’s Product Selector will let you know if a monthly lease plan, prepaying for your solar energy, financing a system, or purchasing outright—along with a back-up power service—is the most cost-effective solution for your unique needs.

    Are Automated Site Modeling and Sunrun’s Product Selector really free?

    Yes. At Sunrun, we’re committed to providing you with the best technology, services, and tools, like our Automated Site Modeling tool and Product Selector, to make your switch to solar as affordable and straightforward as possible. This can help you worry less about controlling your electric bills and protecting your home during outages while reducing your carbon emissions for decades.

    Do solar panels get hot?

    Rooftop solar panels can get hot, particularly during scorching summer days. If the panels do get hot or overheat, they can produce less energy as the temperature rises above their optimal energy production range.

    In general, residential solar panels are designed to reach their peak efficiency level at 77 °F (25 °C), but their efficiency will decrease by 0.5% for every degree above this temperature. The actual percentage of lower production varies by the solar panel’s manufacturer and model. Ultimately, you want to aim for an exterior temperature range of 59 to 95 °F (15 to 35 °C). Yet, it’s unrealistic for rooftop solar panels to stay within this range all year, especially in places where temperatures can go past 100 °F (37.8 °C). Fortunately, most solar panels can withstand heat up to 149 °F (65 °C). 10

    Nonetheless, solar panel overheating can be prevented. Many solar panel manufacturers cover the panels in a material that generally conducts and vents heat away from the glass. In addition, solar panels are usually mounted a few inches above the roof, which allows airflow space to help move heat away from the panels.

    Despite the reduction in efficiency from extreme heat, solar energy generation doesn’t stop. The lower electricity production due to scorching weather balances out with the longer days of sunlight throughout the seasons. Although solar panels work best on cold, sunny days, they produce solar power year-round in nearly every location and climate.

    Do solar panels work in cold weather?

    Solar panels create energy from sunlight—not the sun’s heat. In fact, solar panels produce electricity more efficiently in cooler conditions. Even in the most frigid weather, solar panels can turn sunlight into electricity.

    How does this work? Colder temperatures enhance solar energy production efficiency, which increases the amount of electricity produced. Electrons are at rest in cooler climates. When the electrons in solar panels are activated by increasing sunlight, a voltage difference is attained that creates an electric current.

    Warmer summer temperatures raise the overall energy levels of electrons in solar panels. This increased energy level decreases the energy differential that can be gained, producing less energy. A higher energy state interferes with solar panel electricity production since some energy transfers into heat instead of electricity. Your home doesn’t need to be in a warm-weather state like Arizona, California, Nevada, or Texas to generate year-round reliable solar power.

    Do solar panels work at night?

    While solar panels need sunlight to create electricity, there are two ways you can benefit from solar power during the nighttime: enroll in a net energy metering (NEM) program (if it’s offered where you live), or add a home battery storage service, like Sunrun’s Brightbox.

    Net energy metering (NEM): Lower-cost grid energy at night

    If NEM is offered in your state and by your utility, you may be eligible to earn credits on your bill for the excess solar energy you produce and send to your utility company. 11 At night, you could use those credits toward drawing electricity from the grid at a lower cost. Net metering may help you save money on your future electricity bills. Visit your utility company’s website for more information.

    Solar battery storage: Reliable, affordable back-up energy, day and night

    A battery storage service like Brightbox can let you store the excess solar power you produce for later use. This stored solar energy can help keep your devices and appliances running at night, during outages, cloudy days, and rainy afternoons.

    Brightbox offers two lithium-ion solar battery storage options: Tesla Powerwall and LG Chem. Tesla Powerwall can help yo back up your entire home while LG Chem can help you back up to four circuits inside your home. There are also differences in software and app functionality.

    Request a free, personalized quote to connect with a Sunrun Solar Advisor and determine which Sunrun back-up solution would work best for your home.

    How does Brightbox work?

    Brightbox allows you to store the excess energy your solar energy system produces during the day to use it in the evening, at night, or when the electric grid fails due to physical damage or an extreme weather event or.

    Do I need solar panels to use Brightbox?

    Aside from very rare exceptions, Sunrun’s Brightbox service includes rooftop solar panels. Brightbox can store 100% clean, renewable, home-grown solar power directly from the rooftop panels when the sun is out, so you can use it when you need it most.

    Can I add Brightbox to my current home solar system?

    At this time, Brightbox with a Tesla Powerwall or LG Chem solar battery is only available in the installation of a new Sunrun home solar system due to tech compatibility issues. We can’t install rooftop solar panels or a home battery if you already have an existing solar installation or if Brigtbox’s battery storage service isn’t available in your area.

    What happens during a solar installation?

    Once you’re approved for a solar installation, your property will undergo a site assessment, and an expert solar technician will schedule a visit with you to confirm your system design.

    After that, our Solar Design Experts will make any necessary adjustments to your design and get your final approval. Once it’s approved, we’ll submit your design to the city for permitting, which can take up to eight weeks. From there, either Sunrun or one of our local certified partners will start your solar installation. We only partner with the top-rated solar installers, so you can rest easy knowing you’ll have the highest quality solar installation available.

    When your installation is finished, the city or county will perform a final inspection of your system. Once it’s approved, it’ll be connected to the grid, and we’ll submit your documents to the utility company. After your utility company grants Permission to Operate (PTO), you’ll be all set to start powering your home with the sun.

    What happens if I move?

    We have an entire team of professionals standing by to help you sell your solar home and transfer your contract, if applicable, to the new owners. Sunrun makes it easy to pass your solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA) to the new owners. Our Service Transfer Specialists handle everything from educating realtors and potential buyers to working with escrow officers, title agents, home inspectors, as well as anyone else who might need to know about your system and solar lease or PPA agreement.

    Tesla Solar Roof: One year on, an owner reveals what it’s really like to live on solar

    Elon Musk wants to make your roof your own mini-grid.

    In 1954, Bell Labs revealed an invention that would change the future of clean energy: The world’s first known practical silicon solar cell.

    The New York Times reportedly hailed it as “the beginning of a new era, leading eventually to the realization of one of mankind’s most cherished dreams.”

    That dream — to use the energy of the Sun to create electricity — is still unrealized, but that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been progress.

    All you need to do is take a walk through a city, and you can see them everywhere: solar panels powering homes, offices, and municipal buildings. Since these panels made their way onto roofs in the 1970s, new data from the Solar Energy Industries Association suggests that installed residential capacity in the U.S. equates to 23 gigawatts in 2021. That accounts for nearly 20 percent of the U.S.’s total solar energy generated.

    Today, Tesla’s Solar Roof is leading the charge with an innovation of its own: cutting out the middle step between building the roof and installing the solar panels. Tesla’s specially-designed tiles mean anyone can outfit their home with what looks like a typical (if a bit glossy) roof that provides the house with power.

    HORIZONS is an Inverse newsletter on the innovations of today that will shape the world of tomorrow. Forecast the future by signing up for free.

    Tesla Solar Roof up close.

    The roof tiles are limited in availability, which means Tesla Solar Roofs are unlikely to become as ubiquitous as the bulkier panels we see pasted onto roofs around the neighborhood. Some estimates put the cost of Solar Roofs tens of thousands of dollars above a similar, more conventional solar panel installation.

    Tesla is noticeably tight-lipped about how many Solar Roofs it has sold. The company claims it has fitted solar energy systems on 400,000 roofs in the U.S., but does not reveal how many are Solar Roofs versus retrofit solar panels. Pew Research in 2019 found that six percent of U.S. homeowners have installed solar panels, and the Census Bureau found there were 83.5 million owner-occupied housing units at the end of 2021.

    But the few people that do own a Solar Roof say it has changed their life — just like the New York Times predicted solar cells could.

    “I would definitely recommend the Solar Roof,” Tomas Nochta tells Inverse. Nochta lives in Saddle Brook, New Jersey, works in the hospitality industry, and has a 1,175-square-foot roof with enough sunlight-harvesting tiles to generate 7.6 kilowatts of power — enough to power Nochta’s home.

    WHAT IS TESLA SOLAR ROOF?

    Elon Musk’s Solar Roof was first unveiled in October 2016. Around two years later, Reuters reported that Tesla had only activated 12 roofs in California. Installations remained extremely limited in the U.S. until October 2019, when Tesla unveiled a tweaked version of the roof tiles to enable faster installation.

    Ironically, CEO Elon Musk told an audience in 2019 that it would be the “year of the solar roof” — the year when solar deployments reached their lowest point since the roof’s launch.

    In 2020, Musk claimed he wants Tesla’s energy business to expand from less than 10 percent of the company to 50 percent. Evidence suggests, however, that Tesla’s solar installs remain relatively limited.

    Tesla’s solar deployments — which include its retrofit solar panels and the Solar Roof — in the fourth quarter of 2021 were effectively the same as the fourth quarter of 2020.

    Tesla remains the second-largest residential solar installer in the U.S., behind first-placed Sunrun. Tesla’s 2021 total of 345 megawatts was an impressive 68 percent improvement over the previous year, but solar panel supplier Sunrun installed 792 megawatts of capacity that same year. Wood Mackenzie claims Sunrun accounts for 13 percent of the total residential solar market.

    A chart depicting Tesla’s solar deployments over the past year.

    In April 2021, Tesla announced plans to raise roof based on a given installation’s complexity. Musk admitted the company made “significant mistakes” in assessing how hard it would be to install certain roofs in an earnings call that month.

    Musk’s long-term vision for the future is one where it’s “odd” for a roof not to collect energy to power the building within.

    But how does an early adopter feel about Tesla’s roof? We asked.

    Tesla Solar Roof: How it all came together

    In January 2021, Nochta switched on his new roof. His 1,175-square-foot roof has enough solar-harvesting tiles to generate 7.6 kilowatts of power. The Tesla Solar Roof uses a mix of solar tiles and dummy tiles; the latter used at the edge of the installation to enable teams to more easily cut edge tiles down to size and fit the roof seamlessly to the house.

    Nochta first installed solar panels on his house in 2016, supplied by SolarCity. SolarCity merged with Tesla later that year.

    The first installation was less than three kilowatts — not much energy, which meant the couple was using slightly more than they produced. But as the household grew to add children and parents, Nochta discovered it was surprisingly difficult to expand the existing solar panel system to add more capacity. The new panels would have to work as part of a dual system, with two inverters feeding into the house.

    These inverters are vital for getting solar power into the home. As Energy.gov explains, they convert the panels’ direct current electricity — with a single voltage in one direction — into the alternating current used in homes where the voltage moves between positive and negative.

    Nochta had “a couple of friends that do roofs” and they estimated it would cost 8,000 to 10,000 to replace the roof. Including new solar panels would cost another 10,000 to 15,000.

    When Inverse checked Tesla’s retrofit solar panel website, these estimates seemed accurate. For a home in Saddle Brook, New Jersey, Tesla charges:

    • 10,128 for a 4.8-kilowatt solar panel installation
    • 20,256 for a 9.6-kilowatt installation
    • 11,000 for one Powerwall battery

    A 9.6-kilowatt installation with a battery would come to 31,256 total. Still, Tesla’s website notes that customers could benefit from a 6,205 Federal Tax Credit, plus a 7,392 Solar Renewable Energy Credit that could bring the total cost down to as low as 17,659.

    That figure was close to the amount Nochta had already guessed he would spend on a new roof — so he took the plunge.

    “At that point, it’s just, don’t do it, just get a Solar Roof done,” Nochta says.

    Nochta’s project came to 42,000, including 14,500 for battery storage. It may have been cheaper for Nochta to get a new roof and solar panels — but he’s satisfied with the final installation and doesn’t regret the purchase.

    See a video of Nochta’s installation below:

    Nochta is one of a slowly growing number of happy Solar Roof owners. Inverse also spoke with:

    • Amanda Tobler in California, who was an early adopter back in January 2018 with her 9.85-kilowatt roof
    • Jason Lassen in Wisconsin, whose 15.9-kilowatt roof braved the cold weather in early 2021
    • Tony Cho in Florida, whose giant 44-kilowatt installation went viral in December 2021
    • Richard and Beth Parrish’s California project in March 2022, which powered two Tesla electric vehicles

    How to get Tesla’s Solar Roof

    Nochta ordered his roof in July 2020, months after Musk announced new third-generation tiles that would enable faster installations. But Nochta says he also did “a lot of research” to try and move the project along.

    “I was an asshole, I’ll tell you that!” he says. “I think the people hate me at Tesla.”

    Nochta organized the permits for building the roof himself. He contacted people to get the correct permissions, chased up the utility company to get approval, and stayed home to ensure every inspection went smoothly. A previous contact from the utility company, who had helped with his 2016 installation, pitched in again to support Nochta’s mission.

    here, electric, vehicles, 2022

    The people at Tesla may hate him, but Nochta says a “super nice” employee from Tesla Solar also contacted him to see if he could help them get the project off the ground faster.

    Nochta’s install midway through.

    The installation process took place over a couple of weeks in late 2020. It didn’t start well: Nochta had planned to remove the skylight from his roof. But the installer’s plans retained the feature. The mistake would have reduced Nochta’s Solar Roof down to 7.07 kilowatts.

    “I would advise every single person to stay home on the first day and look at the plans of the installer,” he says.

    But by November 2020, the roof was fully installed. After another month of waiting for final approval from the utility company, Nochta switched on the roof in January 2021.

    Tomas Nochta’s roof fully completed.

    Nochta says his roof has produced 8,148 kilowatt-hours of energy in his first year of usage — more than enough to cover the family’s energy usage, even with an electric vehicle.

    But he still has to pay a 5 per month connection fee to keep his home on the grid, however — just in case.

    “Our main reasons were to go green and use the Sun to produce our own electricity,” Nochta says. Objective achieved.

    Nochta’s reality is fast becoming other Americans’ dreams. In a Pew Research report, 65 percent of U.S. adults in 2017 said the most important priority for addressing the country’s energy supply should be developing alternatives to coal, oil, and gas — like wind and solar. This was ranked above expanding production of existing sources like coal and gas.

    In 2020, that figure had jumped from 65 percent to 79 percent of Americans who believe solar and wind — and other green alternatives — are the priority.

    Musk said in 2019 that the goal of the Solar Roof was to “make roofs come alive.” With the surging interest in renewables, that vision might finally be just around the corner.

    HORIZONS is an Inverse newsletter on the innovations of today that will shape the world of tomorrow. Forecast the future by signing up for free.

    The Cost of Solar Panels: Is It Worth It?

    Do the benefits of solar panels outweigh their costs?

    Nathaniel Riley brings 28 years of experience in financial services, including merger-arbitrage trading, hedge funds, and alternative investments.

    ​Somer G. Anderson is CPA, doctor of accounting, and an accounting and finance professor who has been working in the accounting and finance industries for more than 20 years. Her expertise covers a wide range of accounting, corporate finance, taxes, lending, and personal finance areas.

    Skylar Clarine is a fact-checker and expert in personal finance with a range of experience including veterinary technology and film studies.

    What Is Solar Power for the Home?

    Homeowners who install solar power systems can receive numerous benefits: lower electric bills, lower carbon footprints, and potentially higher home values. But these benefits typically come with significant installation and maintenance costs and the magnitude of the gains can vary widely from one house to another.

    This article will help homeowners make the financial calculations required to determine the viability of solar power in their homes.

    Key Takeaways

    • Those seeking to go green may want to consider equipping their home with solar panels.
    • Not only is solar power good for the environment, but you can earn money selling back excess power to the grid.
    • While costs have come down over the past years, installation and maintenance of solar panels can be quite expensive.
    • Solar panels are best suited for homes that receive ample sun exposure throughout the year.
    • Before committing to solar power, be sure to understand both the social and economic factors.

    Understanding Solar Power

    In principle, working out whether it makes financial sense to install solar power for your home is simple. You will need to calculate:

    • The cost of a solar power system
    • How much energy it will produce
    • What you would otherwise pay for the same amount of energy
    • How many years it will take for your upfront investment to pay for itself in saved energy costs
    • Whether the system will pay for itself in five years

    If it does and you have the upfront capital, it’s probably a great idea. If you’ll have to wait longer for savings or take out a loan to afford the system, you’ll need to think the decision through carefully.

    In practice, however, things are not this simple. There is a large variation in each of these factors, and that can make the costs and benefits of installing solar power for two homes—even if they are neighbors—radically different.

    There are some tools that can help, though. Solar Reviews offer a calculator that will quickly provide you with representative costs and savings for a solar power system in every part of the U.S. Calculators like this are a good place to start if you are new to solar energy and want to understand the basic cost model.

    In the rest of this article, we’ll take you through each of the key factors you should consider when calculating the costs and potential savings of solar power for your home.

    Before getting solar panels, get quotes from several reputable installers to compare.

    The Cost of Solar Power for Homeowners

    First, let’s look at the cost of installing a solar power system for your home. The average, upfront cost of a residential solar power system is between 3,500 and 16,000.

    here, electric, vehicles, 2022

    Why the huge range of costs? Well, a lot of the variation depends on the size of the system you’d like to install and the type of panels you want to use. Whatever system you use, keep in mind that solar power is capital intensive and the main cost of owning a system comes upfront when buying the equipment. The solar module will almost certainly represent the largest single component of the overall expense.

    There are some additional costs, as well. Other equipment necessary for installation includes an inverter (to turn the direct current produced by the panel into the alternating current used by household appliances), metering equipment (if it is necessary to see how much power is produced), and various housing components along with cables and wiring gear. Some homeowners also consider battery storage. Historically, batteries have been prohibitively expensive and unnecessary if the utility pays for excess electricity that is fed into the grid (see below). The installation labor cost must also be factored in.

    In addition to installation costs, there are some further costs associated with operating and maintaining a PV solar array. Aside from cleaning the panels regularly, inverters and batteries (if installed) generally need replacement after several years of use.

    Subsidies

    While the above costs are relatively straightforward—often a solar installation company can quote a price for these for a homeowner—determining subsidies available from the government and/or your local utility can prove more of a challenge. Government incentives change often, but historically, the U.S. government has allowed a tax credit of up to 30% of the system’s cost.

    details on incentive programs in the U.S., including programs within each state, can be found on the Database of State Incentives for Renewables Efficiency (DSIRE) website. In other countries, such information is often available on government or solar advocacy websites. Homeowners should also check with their local utility company to see whether it offers financial incentives for solar installation and to determine what its policy is for grid interconnection and for selling excess power into the grid.

    97.7 gigawatts

    The U.S. installed 19.2 gigawatts of solar PV capacity in 2020 to reach 97.7 GWdc of total installed capacity, enough to power 17.7 million American homes.

    Calculating Your Energy Production

    The second factor you’ll need to consider in your calculations is the amount of energy your system will produce and when it will do that. This can be a very complicated calculation to make, even for experienced solar engineers. However, let’s run through the basics.

    One of the most important considerations is the solar irradiation levels available in the home’s geographical location; in other words, how sunny it is where you live. When it comes to using solar panels, being closer to the equator is generally better, but other factors must be considered. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) produces maps for the U.S. showing solar irradiation levels and the tools on its website provide detailed solar information for specific locations within the U.S.

    Equally important is your home’s orientation: For rooftop arrays, a south-facing roof without trees or other objects obstructing sunlight maximizes the available solar energy. If this is not available, panels can be mounted on external supports and installed away from the house, incurring additional costs for the extra hardware and cables.

    And then you must factor in the size of your system. Solar panel size is quoted in terms of the theoretical electrical output potential in watts. However, the typical output realized for installed PV systems—known as the capacity factor—is between 15% and 30% of the theoretical output. A 3 kilowatt-hour (kWh) household system running at a 15% capacity factor would produce 3 kWh x 15% x 24 hr/day x 365 days/year = 3,942 kWh/year or roughly one-third of the typical electricity consumption of a U.S. household.

    How Much Will You Save?

    Once you know how much a solar power system will cost upfront, and how much energy it will produce, you can (theoretically) predict how much you can save in energy costs per year.

    This is another tricky calculation, however, because a lot depends on how you pay for electricity at the moment. Utilities often charge residential consumers a flat rate for electricity, regardless of the time of consumption. This means that instead of offsetting the expensive cost of peak electricity production, homeowners’ solar power systems merely offset the price they are charged for electricity, which is much closer to the average cost of power production.

    However, many utility companies in the U.S. have introduced pricing schemes that allow homeowners to be charged at different rates throughout the day in an attempt to mirror the actual cost of electricity production at different times: This means higher rates in the afternoon and lower rates at night. A PV solar array may be very beneficial in areas where this sort of time-varying rate is used since the solar power produced would offset the most costly electricity.

    Exactly how beneficial this is for a given homeowner depends on the exact timing and magnitude of the rate changes under such a plan. Similarly, utilities in some locations have pricing schemes that vary over different times of the year due to regular seasonal demand fluctuations. Those with higher rates during the summer make solar power more valuable.

    Some utilities have tiered pricing plans in which the marginal price of electricity changes as consumption rises. Under this type of plan, the benefit from a solar system can depend on the electricity use of the home; in certain areas subject to rates that increase dramatically as consumption increases, large homes (with large energy needs) may benefit most from solar arrays that offset high-cost marginal consumption.

    For some homes, it might even be possible to make money by selling solar power back to the grid. In the U.S., this is done through net metering plans, in which residential consumers use the power that they put into the grid (when the rate of electricity generation from the solar array is greater than the rate of household electricity consumption) to offset the power consumed at other times; the monthly electric bill reflects net energy consumption. The specific net metering regulations and policies vary across regions. Homeowners can refer to the DSIRE database and should also contact their local utilities to find more specific information.

    Calculating Solar Power Costs

    At this point, you will be in a position to make a final calculation, and an assessment of whether solar power makes sense for you.

    The overall cost and benefit of a solar system can theoretically be evaluated using the discounted cash flow (DCF) method. Outflows at the beginning of the project would consist of installation costs (net of subsidies) and inflows would arrive later in the form of offset electricity costs (both directly and through net metering).

    However, rather than using DCF, the viability of solar power is usually evaluated by calculating the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE), then comparing it to the cost of electricity charged by the local utility. The LCOE for household solar will typically be calculated as cost/kilowatt-hour (/kWh or ¢/kWh)—the same format commonly used on electricity bills. To approximate the LCOE, one can use the following equation:

    LCOE (/kWh) = Net Present Value (NPV) of the Lifetime Cost of Ownership / Lifetime Energy Output (kWh)

    The useful life of a PV solar module is generally assumed to be 25 to 40 years. The cost of ownership includes the maintenance costs, which must be discounted to find the NPV. The LCOE can then be compared to the cost of electricity from a utility; remember, the relevant price is that which occurs during times at or near peak PV solar production.

    Is Solar Power Worth It?

    Once you’ve worked through all of these calculations, you’ll likely end up with a single number—the number of years it will take for a solar system to pay for itself in savings from your energy bills. If you live in a sunny part of the country and have high utility bills at the moment, you could be looking at a system that will reach this point in five years. Other homeowners may have to wait 10 or 20 years to reach this point.

    In other words, most homeowners will eventually see a benefit from a solar power system; it might just take decades for this to be realized. Whether it is worth installing such a system therefore often comes down to a number of much less technical factors than those we’ve listed above: how long you are going to stay in your home, the subsidies available in your area, and simply whether you want to do your bit for the environment.

    Pros and Cons of Solar Panels for Your Home

    Like most things, solar power has its benefits and drawbacks. At the same time, some economic costs may be defrayed by the social benefits to the environment and lowering your carbon footprint, which may be more important to you than a purely monetary evaluation.

    • Green energy that lowers your carbon footprint
    • Net metering allows you to sell back excess energy produced
    • You may be eligible for certain tax breaks
    • Installation and maintenance costs are still high
    • Solar only works when the sun is out
    • Parts of the system need to be replaced every few years
    • Some tax breaks may have expired or will be expiring

    Can a House Run on Solar Power Alone?

    Practically, it is not often possible. This is because solar only works when the sun is shining—when it is cloudy or nighttime, they do not generate electricity. There are some battery solutions to provide power during these times, but they still tend to be quite expensive. Most homes with solar panels still rely on the grid from time to time.

    Do You Really Save Money With Solar Panels?

    Depending on where you live, it is possible that the system can pay itself back and more over time. This is because you won’t be spending as much money buying electricity from your utility. If net metering is in place, you could reduce your bills even further.

    How Much Does a Solar Panel Cost?

    have been coming down steadily over the years. The total cost will depend on how many kilowatts of power your array will generate. According to consumer reports, after solar tax credits are accounted for, the cost for a solar panel system on an average-sized house in the U.S. in 2021 ranges from 11,000 to 15,000.

    How Long Will It Take To Recoup the Initial Cost?

    Depending on where you live and the size of your system it can take, on average, anywhere from 10 to 20 years to break even on a solar installation.

    The Bottom Line

    Determining whether to install a PV solar system may seem like a daunting task, but it is important to remember that such a system is a long-term investment. In many locations, solar power is a good choice from a financial perspective.

    Even if the cost of solar power is found to be marginally more expensive than electricity purchased from a utility, homeowners may wish to install solar power to avoid future potential fluctuations in energy costs, or may simply wish to look beyond their personal financial motivations and use solar for green living.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *