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A Guide To Electric Cars And EV Chargers

With solar panels becoming more and more popular, people are beginning to ask: can I charge my electric car with solar panels? The answer is yes, you can!

In this blog post, we'll explore how you can charge your electric car with solar panels and what you need to consider before making the switch.

What Is an Electric Car & How Do You Charge One?

An electric car is a vehicle that runs on electricity instead of petrol or diesel. Electric cars are becoming more popular because they're better for the environment, and they save money both on fuel and tax. Plus, in 2020, the UK government announced they would be taking a big step towards net-zero carbon emissions by ending the sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030.

You simply plug an electric car into a charge point to charge it. The amount of time it takes to charge an electric car depends on the size of the battery and the power of the charger; home chargers typically take the longest, while quicker chargers are available at petrol stations and supermarkets. No matter who your energy supplier is, you can plug your electric car into a normal plug socket at home and have it charge, but if your house runs on energy derived from natural gas or coal, then you're still widening your carbon footprint even if you do have an EV.

However: if charging your electric car at home takes too long, you can have a dedicated EV charge point installed. While this does cost money upfront, you can charge your car quickly at home, using cheap (and potentially green) energy.

Can You Charge an Electric Car with a Solar Panel System?

Yes, you can! But if you want to be able to charge your electric car with solar panels, then you need to have a few things in place first.

First, of course, you need solar panels installed on your house. Solar Together is a great way to get group-buying savings on solar panels and batteries. Alongside your solar panels, you should also have a solar battery installed. That's because solar panels generate electricity during the daytime, but at night your electric car will still need to be plugged in and draw power from the grid. A solar battery stores the extra electricity generated by your solar panels so that you can use it at night. Although not part of a standard Solar Together package, you may also want to add on an emergency power supply (EPS) so that your lights stay on and your EV keeps charging in the event of a power cut.

There are two ways to charge an electric car with solar panels. The first is with a standard plug, and the second is with a specifically installed home-charge point. A home-charge point is a device installed by an electrician that connects your solar battery to your car. The advantage of a home charge point is that it charges your car faster than a standard plug which normally takes 12 hours or even longer if your car has a big battery.

Why Install an EV Charge Point at Home?

If you're thinking of installing solar panels and a solar battery to charge your electric car, you might wonder if it's worth installing a home-charge point.

Here are a few reasons why it might be a good idea:

  • If you already have solar panels installed, installing a quicker charge point helps you take advantage of it. For most people, an EV’s green credentials are one of the main reasons to get one, and charging it with your solar energy takes those credentials to the next level.

  • Faster charging: A home-charge point charges your electric car faster than a standard plug. Whereas charging through a standard plug might take 12 hours, charging with a home-charge point might take 8 hours.

  • Avoid battery degradation: If you charge your electric car through a fast charger at a petrol station or elsewhere, the battery will degrade over time. This means that it won't hold as much charge and will need to be replaced sooner. Charging with a home-charge point can help avoid this degradation.

  • Better for the environment: If you're using solar panels to generate electricity, then charging your car with them is better than at a fast charge point powered by the national grid.

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