Solar Power has a variety of uses – one such is powering charging stations for electric vehicles. Although this concept is still nascent in India, it has already found its benefits and uses in the western world. There are mainly two types of charging units – (i) Level 2, which is generally used by home owners and provides 240 volt AC power and (ii) DC Fast Charge, which is used by government and larger businesses and provides 480-500 volt DC high-current charging

It is estimated that if you charge an electric vehicle with solar power over general electric power, you save an additional 40% off the average utility electricity rate. This is why many homeowners with existing photovoltaic panels are choosing to power their electric vehicles with solar energy systems and utilities. Switching to clean energy is also better for the environment as compared to simply charging car batteries with electricity, which simply switches one fossil fuel (petrol/gas) for another (coal and thermal powered electricity).

Charging Kits for Residential Use

Leading solar panel manufacturing and installation companies such as SolarCity, SolarEnergy and OneSun have already started selling solar-charging kits as an add-on to their existing offering. This allows customers to use the energy generated by their rooftop photovoltaic panels to power their electric vehicles.

The best way to make solar energy work is by tying up with the grid. In this case, the user’s rooftop PV panels generate power in the day when the sun is out and that energy is sold to the grid in exchange for credit. Once the user is back, he can use the credit and charge his car directly from the grid without having to pay any excess charges.

Generally, a Level 2 EV charger consists of a wall-mounted charging station that generates and provides up to a 24 kWh charge in 4-8 hours at 240 volts. This is twice as efficient as a home connection. SolarCity is one of the pioneering players in this space. According to them, residents in urban areas in the USA pay around $230 per month on fuel. If they were to go electric and charge their car from the grid, their monthly outflow would drop to $107. If users were to power their car from solar rooftops, their monthly outflow would further drop to only $54. This is a savings of over 75%.

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