How Many Solar Panels Do I Need to Charge My Electric Vehicle?


One of the main benefits of purchasing an electric vehicle (EV) is that it allows you to forgo buying gas in favor of using electricity, which can save money. Why not go a step further and tap into clean, renewable energy like solar power that you can produce from your own home? Solar is a great addition, especially if you are interested in the ability to charge your electric vehicle from home.

To determine how many solar panels you will need to power your electric vehicle, here’s a quick breakdown:

How Much Electricity Do Leading EVs Require Per Charge? 

There are two different ways to think about the amount of electricity required for an electric vehicle. First, it’s important to consider the charge required for a given distance, which is usually expressed as kilowatt-hours per 100 miles driven (kWh/100 mi). 

Another way to think about the amount of electricity it would take to run an EV is to consider how much electricity it would take to fully charge your car. This metric more closely resembles how we currently think about the cost of filling up a tank on an internal combustion engine car.

The amount of electricity required to “fill the tank” for an electric vehicle is equivalent to the size of its battery. Battery size ranges from 25 to 100 kWh, but the biggest factor determining range is how far a car can travel before requiring recharging. To compare, home energy storage systems, such as the SunPower SunVault and the Tesla Powerwall, store around 13 to 13.5 kWh of electricity.

How Much Electricity Will an EV Use Per Year? 

The amount of electricity that an electric vehicle consumes daily depends primarily on how far you drive. For example, the electricity required to power your EV if you don’t drive that often will be relatively small throughout the year if you live in an urban area and own a car. If you live in a suburban or rural area and commute long distances by car every day, then the electricity required to power your vehicle could be a significant portion of your annual electricity usage.

The Federal Highway Administration reports that the average American travels 13,500 miles per year by car. At that rate, the average electric vehicle will consume around 4,000 kWh of electricity to operate annually.

How Many Solar Panels Do You Need To Charge Your Electric Vehicle?

To determine how many solar panels you’ll need to power your electric vehicle, you’ll need these three important data points:

  1. The amount of electricity your car uses each year,
  2. The amount of power that your solar panels can generate (wattage), and
  3. The amount of electricity your solar panels produce in your area.

As stated above, the average American driver of an EV will require about 4,000 kWh of electricity per year. According to the most recent EnergySage Solar Marketplace Intel report, a majority of solar panels are in the 320 to 330 Watt range. SunPower’s Equinox® A-series panel is built with the newest Maxeon® Gen 5 solar cells and is the world’s first 400 Watt panel.

Finally, the amount of electricity your solar panels produce will vary from region to region: They’ll perform better in sunnier climates like those in California or the Southwest than they would in the Northeast.

When you pull these data points together, it creates a picture of how much solar power will be required to charge different types and sizes of electric vehicles in different regions each year. Depending on where you live, the number of solar panels needed to charge your electric vehicle will typically be around 7 to 9 solar panels.

It’s important to note again that these calculations are based on the assumption that you drive as much per year as the average American driver. However, if you drive fewer than 1,000 miles per month, then less panels will be required to power your electric vehicle.


At the end of the day, solar power is more than just an energy source. It’s also a way to support a sustainable future and reduce your carbon footprint.

For those who are interested in protecting our planet and using renewable resources, powering your EV charger with clean, reliable energy from the sun can save you money and help save the environment.

If you’re ready to save money and power your home with solar, contact us today for a free customized solar quote.

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