The UK government plans to ban all new petrol and diesel cars within the next decade in a massive move towards the nation’s net-zero target.
However, the Competition and Market Authority is alarmed that the rollout of public charging points has been slow and patchy. The UK currently has around 33,000 public charging points and only two-thirds of these chargers can conduct fast/rapid charging.
You can navigate this shortage and even contribute to net zero by installing a home charging station powered by solar panels.
Here’s what you’ll need to consider before making this sustainable investment for your vehicle:
EV Charging System
First, you need an EV charger that supports a solar feed. Then, you must consider the kilowatt (kW) capacity that your charging system needs.
Most home solar panel systems in the UK produce 4-5kW — sufficient to charge an electric vehicle given enough time. However, your home will probably share the power, halving your output unless you set power controls.
One way around this is to supplement solar power with grid power, using the dual-power feature of your home charger – this will charge with part solar, part grid power.
Tesla Superchargers can release as much as 250kW, but this is way out of the reach of homeowners. Thankfully, you charge at 7kW at home (or 11kW if you have a three-phase supply) with enough solar panels.
It’s no secret that solar panels, batteries, and installation can be a significant investment.
However, with the rising cost of electricity, the investment is worth it. Hoymiles explains that solar panels can reduce your energy bills in the long run and even future-proof your savings against increasing energy costs.
To maximise your return on investment, you can also use the panels as the primary energy source of power for your home – a 5kW system will power most of your home and charge your car.
The UK government has also reduced the 5% VAT relief on energy-saving measures (e.g. solar panels, heat pumps) to 0%.
Your home base is essential to the equation because it dictates your proximity to public charging stations and your ability to harvest as much energy from the sun as possible.
Although London has plenty of public charging stations, rural areas in the UK have few rapid chargers due to inadequate or non-existent grid infrastructure. Thus, if you live in a rural area, charging at home is critical to making an electric vehicle work for you.
Regarding house location, your roof probably has a north and south-facing side – the south side is best for energy generation. You must also factor in how cloudy it is on most days, and some parts of the UK are more overcast than others.
Aside from considering your home’s location, you’ll also need to consider your roof’s capacity to hold up the solar panels you need.
The Energy Saving Trust points out that the orientation of your roof will play a significant role because south-facing roofs tend to generate more energy. Roofs with a tilt angle of 20 to 30 degrees can also capture more sunlight, as long as there aren’t any obstructions like trees, chimneys, or walls.
A solar-powered EV charging station at home lets you charge your electric car with free energy. As your energy demand increases and electricity prices rocket, the return on investment time shortens – we estimate EV owners will get their money back within 6 years of solar panel installation for a £7k system.
Overall, a solar-powered EV charger is worth considering if you have a long-term view to slashing your running costs.