Here in the sunny state of Florida, we are no strangers to the abundance of sunlight, which is why you see homeowners across the state converting their homes to solar power. What about cars, though? It feels like not too long ago, the prospect of solar power for cars was where the future was headed, but not much has been said then. We at SEM Power are one of the leading solar companies in Florida, and because of our experience with providing solar energy for homes, we can share our knowledge on how solar cars can work. Specifically, let’s talk about how many panels you’d need to apply solar power to your vehicle. We are located in Tampa.

 

How Much Energy do Electric Cars Require?


Before we can talk about how many panels an electric car would need to be powered by solar energy, let’s first break down how much energy they need to run. Electric cars run off battery power, so the easiest way to look at how much power it takes to run such a vehicle is to look at its battery storage size. Here in the United States, we look at car battery storage in kilowatt-hours per 100 miles driven otherwise expressed as kWh/100 mi. Different cars will have different kWh sizes, though, so the energy required to fuel a car can vary. If you look at a car like the Tesla Model S, you’ve got a battery size of about 100 kWh. Meanwhile, a car like the Honda Clarity will only have a size of 26 kWh. This expresses the range of storage options you’re looking at for a car. If you already have solar power at home with a battery, that will likely store about 10-15 kWh of electricity, for reference.

 

We also need to look at the annual consumption of electricity for different vehicles, which will also vary from one car to another. Now obviously, this number is highly dependant on how much you drive. Someone traveling 45 minutes to work every morning, 5 days a week, will be consuming a lot more energy than someone who only travels 10 minutes, for example. That said, we do currently use the average assumption that Americans will travel somewhere in the ballpark of 13,500 miles per year. Using that, we can gauge the annual electricity consumption of different cards. Looking at our examples of the Tesla Model S and Honda Clarity, you’re looking at approximately 6,143 kWh of energy used to 3,821 kWh, respectively.

 

Solar Power For Cars and How Many Solar Panels

Now, in order to know how many panels you’d need to power your electric car, you’ll need to know 3 pieces of information: How much energy your car will use per year, the wattage of the solar panels, and how well they will produce electricity where you live. Taking a look at averages, the typical electric car will require somewhere around the ballpark of 4,000 kWh per year. Most electric cars are closer to the Honda Clarity we were using, and the Telsa Model is is more of an extreme case. As for solar panels, you’ll typically find panels that fall around the 320-to-330 Watt range in terms of energy production. Lastly, for location, we certainly have an advantage here in Florida, meaning you’ll need less panels than someone who lives in New York, for example. With that information, as it turns out, most electric cars will require either 7 panels in sunnier climates like Florida, or 9 panels further north. The Telsa Model S is the outlier among electric cars, requiring 11 in sunnier areas and 14 in darker ones.

 

One of the Best Solar Companies in Florida

Whether you’re looking to invest in solar power for cars, or even if you’re interested in upgrading your home to solar, then SEM Power is for you. Located in Tampa, we are one of the leading solar companies in Florida. To learn more about the benefits of going solar with your car or your home, you can contact us for questions.

 

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