Can Solar Panels Charge a Tesla Car? – Solar Energy for EVs
Solar Panels for Tesla Cars

Can Solar Panels Charge a Tesla Car? – Solar Energy for EVs

The electric vehicle (EV) industry is quickly rising and Elon Musk‘s Tesla is currently topping the competition as of this moment. In addition to that, people who bought Tesla cars are not only fascinated by its luxurious looks and specs, but also because these allow them to go green and sustainable. They are doing this by pairing the Tesla EV with solar panels. In this article, we will also discuss how can solar panels charge a Tesla car.

Now, let us explore more on the sustainable combination of solar energy and EVs in this article.

Can Solar Panels Charge a Tesla Car?

Can I charge my Tesla car with solar power?

This question is very common among homeowners who bought electric vehicles. Yes, you can charge your Tesla car with solar panels. A Tesla car is a vehicle that does not require a drop of gasoline to operate. It uses electricity instead to power its electric motors that drive the car’s wheels. Its electricity source is a pack of batteries that are placed safely inside this EV.

What is an electric vehicle, though?

An electric vehicle (EV) is a vehicle that uses one or more electric motors or traction motors for propulsion. An electric vehicle may be powered through a collector system by electricity from off-vehicle sources, or maybe self-contained with a battery, solar panels, fuel cells, or an electric generator to convert fuel to electricity.

Source: Asif Faiz; Christopher S. Weaver; Michael P. Walsh (1996). Air Pollution from Motor Vehicles: Standards and Technologies for Controlling Emissions. World Bank Publications. p. 227.

To get started, here is the list of Tesla car models and their basic details. We will be basing our calculations on the battery capacity of each one of them. Tesla cars have an average of 77.8 kWh battery capacity. The average travel range is 300 miles or 482.8 kilometers from one full charge.

Tesla Models with Battery Capacity, Range, and Cost

ModelBattery CapacityRange (miles)Range (km)Approx. Cost
Model S 70D70 kWh240386.24$75,000
Model S 8585 kWh265426.48$79,990
Model S 85D85 kWh270434.52$85,000
Model S P85D85 kWh253407.16$99,990
Model 3 Performance62 kWh315506.94$46,500
Model 3 Standard Plus54 kWh263423.26$37,990
Model 3 Long Range AWD75 kWh353568.10$54,990
Model X Performance90 kWh341548.79$94,690
Model X Long Range Plus100 kWh371597.07$84,500
Model Y Performance75 kWh303487.63$48,000
Model Y Long Range Plus75 kWh326524.65$59,990

How many solar panels do you need to charge a Tesla car?

charging a Tesla car

To quickly answer this question, we present to you a table below detailing approximately how many solar panels you would need to charge your Tesla car. The chart below shows the approximate size of a solar PV system according to a person’s daily usage of the electric vehicle.

To cover the energy cost for EV charging with solar panels, you will need to calculate how far you would drive on average every day. You could be able to determine this if you have recorded the mileage of your car. This will then determine how much electrical energy your electric vehicle will require throughout the year. This will ultimately give you the size of the solar PV system you would need to install.

Average Daily Drive (miles)Average Daily Drive (km)System Capacity (kW)300 Watts Solar Panels400 Watts Solar Panels450 Watts Solar Panels
25 to 4040 to 646.25211614
40 to 6064 to 969.38322421
60 to 8096 to 12912.60423228
80 to 120129 to 19318.85634842

Installing a solar carport for a Tesla car

solar carport for Tesla cars
Solar carport for Tesla cars

One perfect way to use solar panels in charging your electric vehicle, like a Tesla car, is to use solar panels as a carport. This way, you will not only charge your EV but also, keep it under the solar panels’ shade.

What do you need to install a solar carport for your Tesla car?

Let us say, for example, you drive an average of 50 miles each day. Then, by using the table above you will require 24 solar modules with 400 Watts capacity. Then, you will also need a steel carport structure to keep your solar panels in place. Here is the list of materials you will need to install this carport.

ItemsQuantityUnit
Solar Panels 400-Watts24nos.
Carport structure1lot
Mid-Clamps42nos.
End-Clamps12nos.
Railings 4100mm12nos.
6 sq. mm. DC Cables CU50meters
8kW Single-Phase Solar Inverter1no.
10 sq. mm. or #8 AWG CU AC Cable30meters
Metering Panel1no.
Tesla Wall Connector1no.

Building a solar carport for an EV

solar panels above a Tesla car
solar panels above a Tesla car

Firstly, you need to build the foundations for the steel carport structure. You may hire a professional contractor to do the entire installation. But, we will still walk you through the installation process in this article.

After building the foundations, you can now start installing the carport structures.

Make sure you install it in such a way that the tilt will be facing where the Sun will likely hit the solar panels the most. In most cases, this pertains to the Southward direction as much as possible.

Once the structures are fixed, you may start placing the mounting rails on top of it. There will be a total of 6 rails that are spaced accordingly along with the carport structure. This will hold the solar panels in place.

Solar panel arrangement

The next thing to do is to install the solar modules in portrait arrangement and 3 rows. Each row will have 8 panels. The end and mid clamps will be used to fix the solar panels on the railings. The carport dimension will be approximately 6.1m x 8.2m, enough to give shade to 2 electric vehicles.

You would also require an 8 kW solar inverter to convert the DC electricity to AC. This inverter can be fixed into the carport structure itself. Solar DC cables with 6 sq. mm. size will be used to connect solar panels to the inverter. Do not forget about the MC4 connectors that will be fixed on both ends of the DC cables. The solar panels can be grouped into 2 strings, wherein each will have 12 modules connected in series.

electric vehicle under a solar carport
electric vehicle under a solar carport

Once the DC cables are secured and connected to the inverter, we can start with the wiring on the AC side. Connect 3 sets of 10 sq. mm. or #8 AWG CU AC Cable from the inverter to the metering panel. Another set of AC cables of the same size will then be connected to the house’s mains. Then lastly, install the Tesla charger near the carport.

How much does the electric bill go up with a Tesla?

If we assume the average pricing of national electric companies is still at 0.13$ per kWh, charging efficiency of 85%, and an average of 60 miles drive every day, then you have to account for an increase of 2.38$ each day or 71.40$ monthly on your electric bill. From a cost per distance traveled perspective, it will be 3.97$ per 100 miles of mixed city and freeway driving.

However, this cost can be considered as savings when you install solar panels to charge your EV. This means you will be able to generate your electricity for your Tesla car instead of just relying on the national electric utilities for energy.

How much does a Tesla home charger cost?

Tesla home chargers are available from Tesla for $500. You can choose between two connector options. The first one is the Mobile Connector option. This comes with a 24-foot long cord that you can unplug and take with you when you leave the house. The second one is called the Wall Connector. According to Tesla, this is the most dynamic wall charging equipment for their various EV models.

Note: When charging your Tesla car, always refer to the original manufacturer’s manual for instruction. Always keep yourself and your car safe and away from any harm. To have an idea about how much you would spend on installing solar panels, you may check our article regarding the cost of installing a 10-kilowatt solar power system.

Is a Tesla Car Worth the Money?

black electric vehicle
  • The average cost of a Tesla car is around $70,000.
  • These cars are super popular, but the cost is so expensive.
  • Owning this electric vehicle means you will not pay for a drop of gasoline or even an oil change anymore.
  • However, your electric bill might see an increase since you will need electrical energy to power this vehicle.

The answer to the question “Is Tesla worth the money”, is it depends. If you are in a place where gas is significantly cheaper than electricity, then owning a Tesla car will bring you to a disadvantageous position.

Fortunately, there is one sure way to make buying a Tesla car worth your every penny wherever you might be. This is when you pair it with a renewable energy resource such as solar energy. The energy coming from the Sun and other renewable sources is free and sustainable. Thus, charging your electric vehicle using solar panels hits two birds with one stone. It means that you will not burn gasoline and pollute the environment anymore because you are using a fully-electric vehicle. Additionally, you are using free solar energy to charge your EV.

Final Thoughts: Can Solar Panels Charge a Tesla Car?

In conclusion, buying a Tesla car is beneficial especially if you pair it with solar panels to charge its batteries. Solar is the obvious next step after getting an electric vehicle. It is indeed a smart move to push for solar now that there are hundreds of thousands of EV owners who are ready for the next thing.

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Can Solar Panels Charge a Tesla Car? - Solar Energy for EVs
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Can Solar Panels Charge a Tesla Car? - Solar Energy for EVs
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Solar is the obvious next step after getting an electric vehicle. It is indeed a smart move to push for solar now that there are hundreds of thousands of EV owners who are ready for the next thing.
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Solar Powered Blog

Super Human

He loves to read news and articles about renewable energy and technology. He is experienced in the solar energy industry. He loves to write articles, guides, and tutorials about solar PV technology.

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