Solar and electric vehicles
Solar + Electric Vehicles = A Great Combo
Electric vehicles (EVs) are quickly becoming a more affordable and lower maintenance option than traditional gasoline-fueled cars.
America’s EV adoption rate is quickly rising. This is because more affordable, long-range models are coming to market.
For solar owners, fueling your car with homegrown energy is especially compelling.
Incentives for buying an EV
There are tax credits and rebates for buying an EV and installing an EV charger. The federal government provides them as do certain states and utility companies.
Federal EV incentives
At the federal level, there are tax incentives of up to $7,500. You must meet certain criteria to get the tax incentives:
- You purchased your EV after December 2009.
- Your EV uses a traction battery.
- The vehicle’s battery capacity is at least 4 kWh.
- It recharges using an external plug-in source.
- It has a weight rating of up to 14,000 lbs.
- It meets emission standards set by the EPA.
- The EV manufacturer has not hit the 200,000 vehicle cap. Tesla and General Motors are the only two manufacturers that have hit this cap as of early 2023.
Note: the federal tax credit for EVs is non-refundable. It is dependent on your tax liability. For instance, if you purchase an EV eligible for a $7,500 credit, but only owe $4,000 in taxes, you’ll earn a $4,000 credit.
Also, once a manufacturer reaches 200,000 EVs sold, credits drop off to 50% of the full amount for six months. It then drops to 25% for six months. After that the incentive drops to zero.
EV charging incentives
The federal government provides a 30% credit for a home charging station. The credit covers equipment and installation costs. You can deduct up to $1,000 using the credit.
It expired at the end of 2021 and was renewed in 2023 as part of the Inflation Reduction Act. It applies retroactively. So, if you kept your receipts, you can still benefit from the credit.
State EV incentives
EV related incentives vary considerably across individual states. Some are rebates. Some are tax credits. Some vary by the type of electric vehicle. For information on incentives available in your state, visit:: State Policies Promoting Hybrid and Electric Vehicles.
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EVs: A key part of a better energy system
EVs can do more than get you where you need to go. They also can lead us to a more reliable and less expensive electric grid.
To understand why, let’s take a quick run through of how our electric system works now. Large, centralized plants generate most of the electricity we consume. They ship this electricity long distances to our homes and workplaces.
There are several drawbacks to this system.
Those thousands of miles of wires and poles are expensive. They’re also fragile and prone to failing when bad weather hits.
Additionally, demand for electricity can vary widely from day to day and month to month. Meeting spikes in demand with a centralized system is expensive. This puts us at risk of brownouts and blackouts when the demand can’t be met.
Fortunately, this centralized system is changing. More and more people are powering their own homes and businesses with solar energy. This lowers the need to produce electricity in a centralized way.
So where do EVs come in? Think of an EV as a giant battery with wheels. We can use them to store electricity for when demand is high. This reduces strain on the grid. It means better electricity reliability for everyone.
Many states are piloting programs to study EV owner behavior and learn how adding EVs will impact the grid. These pilot projects educate utilities, governments, and grid operators on EV customer behaviors. They also offer insights into rate design and infrastructure deployment to balance electricity loads and improve grid stability and reliability.
Learn how to charge your EV
EV chargers are classified into three categories: level 1, level 2, and level 3 (DC Fast charging). The categories are defined by:
- the power and rate at which they charge a vehicle, and
- the electric infrastructure required for installation and operation.
Download our guide to learn more
Solar United Neighbors sees electric vehicles as a logical next step for solar owners and we’re fighting for more EVs by supporting state and federal incentives, progressive pilot projects, and fair charging rates.
- In 2018, our Appalachian Ohio Solar Co-op included EV chargers for every house that went solar at no additional cost.
- We are currently running co-ops in multiple states that are bringing together homeowners and small businesses and giving participants the option of installing solar , a level 2 electric vehicle charger, or both. Find out more details about our open co-ops on our co-ops page.
- In total, we have helped expand access to EV chargers for homeowners in 6 states and 18 co-ops.
- State EV fees – States across the country are introducing bills that would impose unfair and punitive annual fees on electric vehicles. If passed, such legislation would make the operating costs of EVs much greater and would put an additional barrier in the way of deploying a technology that pairs wonderfully with solar.
- In D.C. and Maryland we are involved in cases at the Public Service Commission to establish time-of-use tariffs for electric vehicle owners. We are working to make sure these policies are fair to solar producers and electric vehicles owners. All together, these efforts must add up to a more democratic, affordable and resilient grid.
Solar + EV resources
- Auto Alliance Advanced Technology Vehicle Sales Dashboard – A regularly updated resource that provides overall national and state level EV sales, market penetration, and other information.
- Green Car Reports – Drives and reviews all green cars.
- The Electric Vehicle Transportation Center (EVTC) – Designed to help create the nation’s electric vehicle transportation network.
- Plug-in America – An advocacy group that supports the expansion of plug-in vehicles.
- Sierra Club Go Electric – A national campaign to make your next car electric.
- Department of Energy Alternative Fuels Data Center – Offers primary research on electric vehicles.
- Plugless – Gives you state by state tax credit and incentive programs for electric vehicles.
- Electric Auto Association – A national organization with state chapters that has been promoting electric vehicles since 1967.
- Charge Point – The largest network of EV charging stations. They help you find a charging station near you.
- Multi-Sate ZEV Action Plan – This report from the ZEV Task Force examines what steps policymakers, automobile manufacturers, utilities and others should take to increase adoption of zero-emission vehicles.
- AchiEVe: Model State & Local Policies to Accelerate Electric Vehicle Adoption – This is a resource guide developed by the Sierra Club and Plug In America that identifies model policies that have helped increase access to electric vehicles.
- Solar and EV Sizing Guide – This is a guide that can help you figure out how much solar you may need to power your electric vehicle.
We’ve compiled additional information about solar and electric vehicles in some states. Are you looking for information that isn’t covered here? Contact us.