Using a solar EV charger that gets its energy from a solar panel can reduce your carbon footprint. This can also help lower your utility bills by reducing your electricity costs. Here are a few preferred times to charge your EV:
When to Charge Your EV Using Solar
The best charging time is dependent on several factors, including:
Sunlight intensity impacts the amount of energy produced—the stronger the sunlight, the more the electricity. It’s best to charge your EV when there’s maximum sunlight availability, as solar panels generate excess energy at this time. In many areas, peak sunlight hours are between late morning and early afternoon. These are suitable times to charge your vehicle, especially if you don’t have battery storage.
Battery storage can give you more flexibility. Batteries store the excess energy your solar panels produce during the day, which allows you to use it when there’s minimal or no sunlight. High-capacity batteries can charge your vehicle in the evening or at night without using grid power. Consult a solar installation expert to determine the appropriate battery capacity for your home. Let the expert know if you make daily commutes or have numerous EVs in your home so they can make appropriate recommendations. Monitor your battery’s charge before using them to make sure they’ve accumulated enough power during the day to support your charging needs.
Time of Use (TOU) Billing System Availability
Under a TOU billing system, electricity prices vary depending on when you consume power. Energy is typically cheap during off-peak hours and expensive during peak hours. In many areas, off-peak hours are at night and early in the morning, and peak hours are during the day and evening. Assess your area’s TOU rates if your utility company offers this billing system with solar. This can help you determine if charging your EV during the day when your panels are at optimal production capacity or at night when your energy rates are low is best. If it’s better to charge at night, push the excess solar energy produced during peak hours into the grid and charge your EV during off-peak hours. This way, you can maximize the credits you get for your power and charge your vehicle when electricity is the cheapest.
Invest in the Right Solar EV Charger for Charging Efficiency
Investing in the right solar EV charger can make your charging more convenient. You’ll find various types of chargers, including Level 1, 2, or Direct current chargers. Level 1 chargers are the most basic and common type. With these chargers, you can use any residential 120-volt AC outlet to charge your vehicle. They’re suitable for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), as they have small batteries, which can reach full charge in 5-6 hours.
Level 2 chargers are better alternatives for EVs, as they provide higher-rate AC charging. They can replenish roughly 25 miles of range per hour, making them suitable for EVs that make daily commutes. You can charge your car overnight and use it during the day without worrying about running out of battery. Direct current chargers are the fastest option. They can replenish hundreds of miles in as little as 20 minutes, making them suitable for emergencies. These chargers are typically found in public locations like highways and commercial buildings.
Pair Your Solar With an EV Charging Station
Adding an EV charging station to your solar system can result in more significant cost savings, as you can charge your vehicle using solar energy. Monitor your solar generation, vehicle energy usage, and area’s utility credits to determine the best times to charge your EV. When you do, invest in a suitable solar EV charger. If you commute daily, consider a Level 2 charger.