Solar panel need-to-know information for EV owners

The electric vehicle (EV) revolution is well underway, challenging the fuel costs and emissions which are polluting our planet from the old-school fossil fuel vehicles. And the focus is moving on to how we provide the energy for our EVs from more renewable sources.

Aside from wind or water turbines, there are solar panels which use energy from the sun to produce free, clean electricity. With both solar panels and electric cars becoming more affordable now is a great time to consider an EV and how we, as homeowners, can use solar panels to charge it.

As it stands at the tail end of 2021, the price of solar panels cost an average £4,800 to install. And the UK government has introduced the smart export guarantee (SEG) scheme that pays households for solar energy they generate, but don’t use. Solar panels are generally low maintenance and if you use the panels at the right time of day to power your electronics (i.e. in daylight hours), you can really maximise their value.

Firstly, can you recoup the cost of solar panels?

It can take years to recoup the costs of installation for a typical home, so calculations vary depending on your circumstances and how you use your power. For example, setting appliances to run while it’s light outside during the winter months helps save money. How? Because there is less sunlight at this time of year and you’ll generate less solar power, so you’ll take more energy from the grid if you use power in the darker hours. There are other tips on making savings on solar forums like this one: Make the most of solar panels.

So, how much can you save with solar panels?

Electricity savings is the most obvious point of saving as you can use the electricity your panels generate, thus reducing your electricity bills. The Energy Saving Trust estimates a typical four-kWp system can knock between £90/year and £240/year off your bill.

Combine this with the SEG tariffs and your surplus power gets exported back to the national grid for use in other homes and businesses, and you get paid for it! What you get depends on the supplier you choose, and ranges from just 1p per kWh to 5.5p per kWh.

And what does this mean for charging EVs at home?

There are many pros to switching to an EV and one is seeing the significant savings on petrol or diesel fuel costs. But in the long-term energy bills could begin to rise as the national demand for electricity rises. Solar panels are a good solution as you can generate your own free renewable energy and potentially to lower your home electricity costs.

In theory it is possible to generate enough electricity using solar panels, rather than relying on your energy supplier, use what you need for your home and charging your car – reducing the cost of a full charge to zero.

And how can you maximise savings?

Just remember that solar panels can only generate energy during daylight hours – which can be a factor if you were planning on charging your car overnight. Essentially this means that you won’t have much time to charge the car (especially during the winter months) in the evenings after work. So, what is the best solution to managing this challenge?

A solar battery. It could be well worth investing in as they store the excess solar energy your panels generate, which can then be used when the solar panels are dormant overnight. This is an alternative to using the SEG tariff plans and sending your excess energy to the national grid. Instead, by storing this excess energy in a solar battery you will be able to charge your EV with free solar energy when you get home from work. Problem solved!

To find out more about home chargepoints why not have a chat with one of our team and see what Go Car Charge can do for you.