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Why You Should Start Powering Your Electric Vehicle with Solar

Image courtesy of Motortrend

Solar energy has become increasingly popular due to its diverse benefits. However, the advantages of this clean energy source are even more significant when employed in combination with an electric vehicle (EV). 

Contrary to what Elon Musk may want you to believe, electric vehicles have been around for over a century, with the first electric car dating back to 1890 with William Morrison’s first iteration in Des Moines, Iowa. However, it wasn’t until recently that they began to gain popularity due to advances in battery technology and the push towards sustainable energy sources. 

The Problem with Traditional EV Charging 

The transition towards electric vehicles is gaining momentum as we strive to reduce our carbon footprint. However, one of the biggest challenges with this revolution is the issue of charging. Charging an electric vehicle is typically done in two ways: at home using a wall-mounted charging station or at public charging stations throughout major US and European cities and highways. 

Long charging times

With conventional cars, refueling at a gas station was relatively quick and easy. In contrast, electric vehicles require a longer time to charge fully and don’t provide an extensive range. The charging time varies depending on the vehicle and the charger used, with some chargers taking just 30 minutes to charge a vehicle to 80% and others taking several hours for a full charge. 

Remaining dependence on fossil fuels

Despite the push towards greener energy sources, such as renewables, the energy used to produce the electricity that fuels our cars is often derived from fossil fuels. This means we are still contributing to the carbon emissions we are trying to reduce. 

To make a real difference, we must find alternative ways to power our transportation, such as hydrogen fuel cells or advanced biofuels. While electric cars are a step in the right direction, they are not the whole solution to achieving decarbonization. It is important that we continue to explore and invest in alternative technologies to truly make a difference in reducing our carbon footprints.

Developing infrastructure

As electric vehicles become more popular, many drivers are encountering the challenge of finding available charging stations. Unlike traditional fueling stations, the infrastructure for EV charging is relatively new and not as robust. This means that drivers may need to plan their routes carefully to access charging stations when needed. 

Finding an EV charging station can be a hassle, and home solar banks may be the answer. 

Image courtesy of Automotive World

Benefits of Powering Electric Vehicles with Solar

As more electric vehicles enter the market, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technology Office (SETO) is invested in understanding how solar energy, in conjunction with EVs, can help the country meet its clean energy goals. Integrating solar energy with EVs can generate multiple benefits; let’s explore their findings below. 

Cost-Savings

Those who have already invested in their PV panels can not only enjoy a free fill-up without having to pay a single cent for fuel but can also earn federal tax credits, which can help offset the upfront costs of installing solar systems and EVs by up to 30% and $7,500, respectively. For those interested, it’s worth checking with state, county, and city governments and electric utility providers for additional incentives. 

Environmental Health

A dedicated solar energy charging station can take you a step closer to a sustainable future and maximize environmental benefits. By tapping into the abundant energy from the sun to power your EV, you can ensure that your vehicle runs efficiently and with minimal environmental impact.

The benefits only multiply if the source of electricity is clean as well. In fact, if you combine the use of EVs with solar power–a completely pollution-free energy source–you can achieve an even lower carbon footprint. 

Using an EV for Backup Power

As advancements in technology continue, utilizing the power stored in an electric vehicle battery during times of crisis is becoming an increasingly viable option. With the size of most EV batteries, it is possible for them to power essential parts of a home for multiple consecutive days. Moreover, supplementing this stored energy with solar power can allow for recharging of the EV even during an outage. 

How to Power Your EV with Solar

By tapping into the virtually limitless and clean energy provided by solar, EV owners can not only significantly reduce their carbon footprint but also drastically cut down on their monthly electric bills. There are five main ways you can solar power an EV. 

Rooftop Solar

Rooftop solar systems provide power to your home or commercial building. This power source can be diverted to power for an EV. Whether or not they are paired with battery storage systems, rooftop solar systems can be optimized to power your car when generating more electricity than you’re using, maximizing solar savings.

Solar-Powered Public Charging Stations

Some public EV charging stations have incorporated onsite solar panels. Many available apps are available to find the nearest charging station, or you can use one of the many available apps or the navigation built into your EV. 

You can also reference the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Fuel Data Center’s Station Locator

Community Solar

Community solar subscribers have a clever new option for powering their EVs. By connecting their vehicles to their home’s electricity supply, they can use their share of a larger, shared solar array to keep their cars running. This arrangement enables subscribers to benefit from the cost savings and convenience of community solar while also enjoying the environmental benefits of using clean, renewable energy to power their EVs..

Vehicle-Attached/Added Photovoltaics

Solar module panels can be attached directly to your car’s existing structure, providing an invaluable boost to the electrical systems powering your vehicle. While solar modules have long been used in off-grid applications such as remote farms and boats, utilizing them in automobiles is a relatively new and exciting development. 

Vehicle-Integrated Photovoltaics

Solar modules can be mechanically and electrically integrated into the design of a vehicle.

Power Up Your EV with Americus

The combination of solar energy and EV technology provides numerous advantages that make for a smart investment in the long run. By harnessing the sun’s power to propel your car, you can save a significant amount of money on fuel costs while reducing your environmental footprint. 

Furthermore, connecting your EV to the electrical grid can help stabilize the overall energy system, improving its efficiency and reliability. Solar-powered EVs can also provide backup power to your home in the future, ensuring that your household remains operational during power outages. 

Contact the Americus Energy experts today to learn more about powering your EV through solar power. 

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