Charging electric vehicles with the sun

By Ben Delman on June 12, 2017

Many solar households also have an electric vehicle and more will go electric soon. Combining the two technologies increases energy cost savings as you are literally powering your car with the sun. Many auto manufactures are preparing for electric vehicles to represent all or a significant portion of their sales by 2030. If you add a 240 volt outlet during your solar installation, adding a Level 2 charger down the road will be as simple as plugging it in.

Electric car chargers are currently rated at three levels:

Level 1

Level 1 chargers plug into a standard 120-volt outlet that you likely already have in your garage. The amount of time required to charge from a Level 1 will vary based on the size of your car’s battery. EVs with smaller batteries can fully charge overnight. Cars generally come with a Level 1 charger.

Level 2

Level 2 chargers require a 240-volt outlet.   Although most EVs can charge through a standard 120-volt outlet, adding a Level 2 charger can cut charging time in half. This is important with EVs that have large capacity batteries. Many solar installers are willing to add a 240-volt outlet for an additional cost. OH SUN recently began asking for sample pricing as part of the installer RFP process.

Level 3

Level 3 chargers allow for direct current to direct current charging, but are limited in applications and very expensive. These chargers are typically only found in public charging stations. Level 3 chargers bring the promise of quick recharging stations on long trips.