Can You Use Solar Panels to Charge a Tesla?


How Much Does It Cost To Install A Tesla Charger At Home?

A caveat of owning a Tesla is the time and cost it takes to charge it, but what if I told you you could charge your Tesla from the comfort of your own home using solar power. Using solar power can be a hassle-free and cost-efficient way to make sure your Tesla is always ready to go. So can you use solar panels to charge a Tesla?

Yes, you can charge your Tesla with Solar Panels however there are a few things to consider. In the long-run, Solar Panels will help you save money by producing free energy to charge your Tesla, but in the short-term you will face a high upfront cost. However, adding Solar Panels to your home will also reduce your carbon footprint, create renewable energy, and potentially cut your homes entire electricity bill.

So, now that you have an idea of some of the benefits that come with charging your Tesla with solar power, the next step is to figure out the execution. In this article, we’ll dive into more detail on the benefits of using solar power as well as some of the disadvantages and the most efficient ways to generate it.

Benefits of Using Solar Power

The most important thing when considering new options is to understand the benefits of switching over. By now, you may be accustomed to using charging stations to power up your Tesla, but you may be missing out on a better alternative.

Cost Efficiency

In the short run, you may question whether or not you’re actually saving money when you’re buying and installing solar panels to your car or home. The cost for a full charge through a charging station will go for about 13 cents per kWh. A full charge for a 348-mile drive range on a Model S or Model X will come out to about $15.29.

A Tesla battery ranges from a 75-kWh to a 100-kWh capacity on newer models so the cost of a full charge varies, but assuming an average commuting lifestyle, you may run up to over $90 a month on recharge prices and close to $1,100 yearly. These prices are better than what you’ll spend on non-electric cars, but solar power can do even more.

The average driver will drive about 37 to 40 miles a day, this equals about 12 kWh. Assuming you’re using a low-end solar panel, your panel will produce at least 1 kWh a day. You would need over 70 panels for a full daily charge assuming this. However, higher-quality panels will significantly lower that number.

Assuming a standard panel costs $185 and generates about 2-3 kWh a day, you would need about 6 panels to reach that 12 kWh number. This would cost you about $1,100.

Granted, this is a very specific scenario, it gives you an idea of how solar panels work and how it will affect your Tesla.

Using these same numbers, you would need about 25 panels in order to fully charge a 75 kWh capacity Tesla. This would come out to about $4,625, meaning it would take about 4 years to break even in terms of what you would have been spending at a charging station.

Later in the article, we will discuss a more specific scenario using a location and the number of kWh typically generated there.

As with anything in life, each situation is unique. Solar power may seem like a tough investment at first but in the long run, you will save.

Many solar panel systems come with financing options. EnergySage Solar Marketplace gives you an option to compare solar panel pricing with those in your area and will give you financing options to consider.

Time Efficiency

Charging a Tesla takes time. Although you’re saving money on the amount it takes to completely fuel up your car, it can be time-consuming. You will typically need close to 6 hours to fully charge your car and will need to leave your car at a charging station.

One of the benefits of using solar power to charge your Tesla is your ability to seamlessly charge your car battery when it is stationary and close to a location with solar panels.

You can use the energy you obtain through your solar panels to shorten the amount of time you will need to spend at a charging station on a day-to-day basis. Solar panels aren’t so much of a rival of charging stations, but a teammate designed to make the life of a Tesla owner much easier.

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Aside from the benefits solar energy can bring to your Tesla owning experience, using solar power can help you positively impact the environment, just like Telsa models themselves were designed to do.

Through a reduction of carbon emissions, you will be reducing the environmental impact of your energy source. When using solar power, your electricity is produced by natural gas, coal, and renewable energy.

So, investing in solar power and using it to charge your Tesla, brings many benefits with it. Many of these benefits will be seen more in the long-term than in the short-term, but the sooner you invest in solar power, the quicker you will reap the benefits of it.

You’ll also want to consider that when you’re investing in solar panels, you’re not only using them to benefit your electric car, but it may be the first step in transitioning your home into a more solar power run location.

Disadvantages of Using Solar Power to Charge Tesla

The advantages we discussed in the previous section can be flipped and thought of as disadvantages for a Tesla car owner. The advantages of using solar power are all more long-term solutions, but it is natural to also be focused on the short term. We won’t go into extensive detail, but a few points to consider in the short-term include:

  • Short-term costs
  • Not as immediately efficient as charging stations
  • Bad weather and shadows will diminish solar panel efficiency
  • Trial and error for how many panels you actually need

Like most things, it will take planning and trial and error to understand if investing in solar power is right for you.

How to Use Solar Power to Power Your Tesla

Now that we’ve gone over the benefits and disadvantages of using solar power to charge your Telsa, let’s discuss how to actually do it.

Although Tesla hasn’t released any models with solar panel roofs, Elon Musk has announced that the Telsa Cybertruck, which is set to be released in 2023, will feature an option to add solar panels to the roof that will charge the vehicle up to 15 miles a day.

Since there are no solar-powered Tesla’s currently on the market, we must fend for ourselves, and the best way to this is by investing in solar panels for the roof of your home.

Tesla Solar Panels

As we’ve discussed previously in the article, the amount of solar power energy you wish to generate for your car is entirely up to how much you’re willing to invest in solar panels.

You can search for solar panels that match your budget and demand, but Tesla themselves offer their own solar panels. Teslas solar panels are the lowest cost-per-watt solar panels on the market, so we recommend getting a solar quote from them.

The cost is dependent on your home, but you’ll be looking at about $2.01 per watt.

To roughly figure out how many solar panels you will need, based on your current energy usage, try this simple calculator:

In order to offset 100% of your electric bill, you will need:


400 Watt Panels
kWh

Based on Tesla Solar Panel pricing it will cost:


$

Location

Your location is an important factor to consider when deciding on whether or not to invest in solar panels. If you are someone that lives in an area with predominantly bad weather year-round, you will not see the same benefits as someone who sees the sun more often than not.

Seasons will also affect the performance of your solar panels. During the winter, Northern areas that see a lot of snow will find that their solar panels will become almost obsolete. Meanwhile, those in areas like South Florida who see the sun even in the wintertime will continue to reap the benefits of their solar panels.

So, make sure to consider where you live and what your weather and season typically look like before going all-in on solar power. What makes sense for someone in Miami in the long-term, may not make sense for someone in New York.

Versatility

It is recommended that you consider the other benefits solar panels can bring to you other than just charging your car battery. Considering how much it would cost to buy enough solar panels to fully charge your Tesla from zero on a daily basis, make sure you’re using your stored solar energy on other appliances around your home.

Some electric companies may even offer you money for all the stored energy your solar panels obtain. Take full advantage of your solar panels and don’t just see them as a means to charge your Tesla for a few extra miles a day.

Does Tesla Offer Discounts on Solar?

Tesla solar panels are already the lowest price-per-watt solar panels on the market, but are there any other ways to save money when ordering?

In short, the only way to get a discount on Tesla solar panels is by using an existing Tesla owners “referral link” when ordering your Tesla solar panels.

Tesla has did this same “referral program” concept with it’s vehicles and essentially it allows new customers to get a discount on their purchase by using an existing customers personal referral link.

In regards to Tesla solar discounts, using a Tesla referral link when ordering will save you $300 off solar panels or $500 off solar roof.

The referral discounts are typically only available for a limited time before Tesla stops offering the discount, so take advantage of the savings while you can.

tesla solar panel discount

Ways to Charge Your Tesla

There are a few ways to charge your Tesla besides using solar energy.

  • Tesla supercharger– Provides faster charging for a fee of 50 cents per minute at charging stations.
  • Destination charger– These are chargers located at hotels, businesses, and other locations. These chargers can be convenient for travel, but are much slower than superchargers and provide about 20 to 30 miles per hour charging.
  • Public charger– Public charging stations, sort of like a gas station. Charges are billed to your credit card.
  • At-home charging– The most popular and convenient charging method. Use an electrical circuit that is tied to your home electricity. This is the one that would benefit from solar panels.

Each charging method has its disadvantages, but the at-home charging method, while convenient, can also drive up electric bill costs.

The amount you’d be investing in solar panels would eventually even out with the money you’d be saving on charging station costs, but also with the amount you’d be seeing on your electric bill every month.

Consider a scenario where your neighborhood loses power for a few days and you no longer have an electric cord to charge your car battery. Solar panels would give you a way to charge not only your Tesla but also power the rest of the appliances in your home.

Conclusion

At this point, you’ve read all about the benefits, disadvantages, and procedures of a solar panel system. The next step is deciding whether this is the right investment for you.

Buying solar panels should be a long term investment plan. Remember to figure out whether this is something you see as not only beneficial to your Tesla, but your home and livelihood as well.

Consider factors such as location, weather, daily mileage, and overall practicality to your day-to-day life when analyzing what solar panels will do to increase your Tesla owning experience.

If you are still hesitant about installing solar panels to your home solely to charge your car, you also now have the opportunity to shop the market for a car with a solar panel roof shortly with the release of the Tesla Cybertruck in 2023.

You’ll want to check some of the links provided in the article to understand solar energy as it is relative to your location. There are plenty of resources available to those considering going fully solar.

As many of the world’s biggest companies being to go full solar and develop solar-powered products, it may be beneficial to you to follow the trend and see what solar energy can do for you and the environment. Using solar power to charge your Tesla is only the beginning of what solar energy can do.

Tesla Discounts:

Solar Discounts:

Greg Gottfried

The articles here on ThatTeslaChannel.com are created by Greg Gottfried, a Tesla vehicle and Tesla solar expert with nearly half a decade of hands-on experience. Being a Tesla owner allows Greg to fact-check information and personally try new scenarios out before publishing an article explaining the process.

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