If you have an electric vehicle (EV), the best way to keep both your recharging costs and your EV’s carbon footprint to a minimum is by charging your car at home using Electric Vehicle Service Equipment (EVSE). And while rooftop solar panels aren’t a requirement for adding EVSE, if you already have solar or are considering making the investment, adding a car charging station to your system is a practical and straightforward option.
Hooking up your electric car charging station to your solar panel system gives you more control over the price of electricity used to charge your EV, as charging from home costs less than most paid charging stations. You also get the added bonus of ensuring your EV runs on emissions-free electrons. Let’s take a look at some of the other benefits.
Setting Up Your EVSE Is Straightforward
Some people use 110V AC wall sockets to charge their electric cars at home, but that can be very time consuming. Charging in this way takes up to 20 hours, so you’d only be able to drive every other day. To charge faster, you’ll want two parts: a 240V outlet and a charger.
You will need to hire an electrician to connect an outlet to the main service panel. The most common outlets for Level 2 charging (what most EVs use) are NEMA 14-50 (240V, 50A) or NEMA 14-30 (240V, 30A). These outlets can cut down your charging time to under 8 hours. If you’re going solar or already have a rooftop solar system, the electrician can connect the outlet directly to the system.
EV chargers are not especially exotic and can be found at your local hardware store, with prices anywhere from $400 to $3,000. Your installer should either offer a selection themselves, or be able to suggest a range of choices for you.
Once the outlet is installed, you can plug the charger right in to power your EVSE (most EVs fit into standard outlets). If you want to move or change your charging equipment, you just disconnect the plug.
EVs and Energy Storage Work Well Together
If you have an energy storage unit (battery) like a Tesla Powerwall or sonnenBatterie at home, you’ll have even more options for charging your EV. You can use it to time-shift your power consumption, since many utilities charge more for grid-supplied electricity in the middle of the day, when air conditioners are on and demand is high. If you have residential energy storage, you can use the battery to charge your EV whenever you like.
Batteries combined with solar means you’ll always have power, storing energy away for when the sun isn’t shining. A battery can also be useful for charging your EV in case of an electrical grid outage.
Your EV Outlet May Give You a Kickback!
Many utilities have special rates for EV owners to make charging more economically viable. Sometimes they’ll install a meter just for the EV outlet, and if you only charge your EV during off-peak hours, they’ll charge you a discounted rate for that power. You may also be eligible for rebates and other incentives. For instance, Burbank Water & Power customers who add EV chargers can get $500 back. The same goes for the customers of LADWP and Anaheim Public Utilities.
Experienced EV Consultation Is Available
If you want your electric vehicle charging station installed professionally, we can handle that. We’ll make sure your charging station is safely installed by updating your main electrical panel as needed, and connect your charger to your home’s electrical system. If you have solar power, we’ll ensure your panels will charge your EV for an end-to-end green solution. LA Solar Group is a California State Licensing Board (CSLB) C-46 licensed solar contractor and a CSLB C-10 licensed electrical contractor.
If you have any questions about adding an electric car charging station for your home, would like to know if your main electrical panel will need an upgrade, how long it’ll take to charge your EV, or anything else about electric vehicles and solar power, we’re here to make sure you have the satisfaction of knowing you’re keeping both your carbon footprint and EV charging costs down.