How many solar panels do you need to charge a Tesla?
If you’ve been driving a Tesla for a little while, you may have noticed an increase in your electricity costs because now you’re tapping into the grid to power your car in addition to your home. While you’re undoubtedly saving money compared to what you previously spent on gas, you might be looking into cutting your electricity costs. Solar is a great way to save on electricity costs and a great investment if you’re already driving a Tesla or are thinking about it! In this article, we’ll dive into how much energy it takes to charge a Tesla and how much it’ll cost you.
To charge your Tesla with solar, you’ll need approximately eight to 10 additional solar panels on top of a regularly sized solar system.
It costs less to charge a Tesla than to drive a gasoline vehicle, and even less to charge it if you’re using free energy from the sun.
Ready to start charging your Tesla with your own solar panels? Head to the EnergySage Marketplace to receive multiple quotes for installing solar on your property.
Yes, you can charge your Tesla with solar! Powering an electric vehicle (EV) like a Tesla with solar is a great way to save even more long-term and take another step toward fully electrifying your home.
If you’re already driving a Tesla but don’t have solar panels at your home, your installer can size your new home solar system to accommodate the additional electricity demand created by charging your Tesla. If you’re considering going solar and are not already driving a Tesla but plan to in the future, make sure you tell your installer so they can size your system with that in mind. And, if you’re already powering your home with solar but worried about the increased electricity demand created by purchasing a new Tesla, you can always connect with an installer to talk about expanding your current solar system. There’s no reason that driving a Tesla and going solar shouldn’t go hand in hand!
It costs between $9.62 and $18.30 to fully charge a Tesla based on the national average cost of electricity. But if you’re generating your own electricity, that cost drops significantly once you break even on your upfront investment. To start charging your Tesla with solar, you may need to make some upgrades to your home power setup. We’ll take a look at the most common upfront costs as well as the cost of charging your Tesla with solar once you install your system.
In order to charge your Tesla with solar, you’ll need to install or expand the solar system on your home and purchase an EV charger. If you’re driving a Tesla, the best EV charger choice is a Tesla Wall Connector, which will be the most compatible and easy to use with your vehicle.
Solar energy system
Let’s assume you haven’t installed a solar energy system yet, and during the process of working with an installer, you let them know you’re planning on charging an EV with your solar system: they’ll factor that into the size of your solar system so it can generate enough electricity to power your EV.
The average cost of a solar system installation is $20,498. If we assume the average cost of a standard panel is around $185, and in the Northeast, a Tesla uses around eight additional panels to charge, you’ll be adding an additional $1,480 to the total cost of your system. Based on your location, the number of additional panels you’ll need to charge your Tesla with solar may be slightly higher or lower than eight, in which case your costs will fluctuate in increments of about $185. The total cost of your solar system installation, sized to accommodate your Tesla, will be about $21,978.
In addition to your new solar system, you also may want to install a new Tesla Wall Connector, an upgrade from the standard charging cord that comes with your Tesla and is compatible with outlets available in all homes. The costs associated with a Tesla Wall Connector can include the charger itself ($400), a faceplate colored to match your Tesla ($75), and the installation of a pedestal for the charger if you aren’t attaching it to the wall of your garage or home ($425).
You’ll also have EV charger installation costs, as you’ll want a trusted, licensed, and experienced electrician to ensure your charger is correctly installed. According to Qmerit, most standard EV home charger installations cost between $799 and $1,999 (excluding the equipment). Additionally, depending on your home’s electrical panel, floor plan, and wiring, you may need additional wiring or electrical work, so your installation and setup costs may increase. For our example, let’s assume you are installing the Wall Connector on the inside wall of your garage, you’re not getting a colored faceplate, and you don’t need any additional wiring or electrical work – as a low-end estimate, your Tesla Wall Connector installation will cost about $1,200.
If we add together the cost of your solar installation and your new Wall Connector installation, the upfront cost associated with charging your Tesla with solar comes out to $23,178. While that might seem high, remember that if you already have solar, the cost will be much lower (even if you do need to expand your system size). And if you are installing a new solar system, the average time it takes to “break even” on a solar system is eight years. You’ll save lots of money on gas by driving your Tesla, leading to an even quicker payback period! The table below breaks down the estimated upfront costs of different combinations you could require to set yourself up for home charging success.
Estimated Upfront Cost
|The Tesla Wall Connector||$1,200|
|The Tesla Wall Connector + pedestal||$1,675|
|The Tesla Wall Connector + a solar system sized for an EV||$2,680|
|The Tesla Wall Connector + pedestal + a solar system sized for an EV||$3,135|
|The Tesla Wall Connector + any home solar||$23,178|
|The Tesla Wall Connector + pedestal + any home solar||$23,653|
Charging with solar
Now that you’ve got the solar and home EV charger installation out of the way, you can start charging your Tesla with solar! The great news is that once you’re powering your Tesla with solar, it will be free! Depending on how many charging cycles you go through in a year, you’ll likely be charging your Tesla with free solar energy in less than eight years.
Some different factors come into play when it comes to charging an EV, such as:
Solar panel efficiency
The model of Tesla being charged
Location of your home
To compare EVs to traditional cars, the EPA uses the amount of kilowatt-hours (kWh) required for an EV to travel 100 miles as miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe). Thus, if the ultimate question is how many kWh it will take to charge your Tesla, it will depend on the distance you plan to travel. A short trip 25 miles each way would require roughly 17 kWh of energy, while the energy needed to run errands around town might only require two or three kWh.
|Model X||102 MPGe|
|Model S||120 MPGe|
|Model Y Long-Range AWD||122 MPGe|
|Model 3 Long-Range AWD||131 MPGe|
Can you charge a Tesla with solar power?
Yes, you can absolutely charge a Tesla with solar power!
How many solar panels are required to charge a Tesla?
It takes roughly eight to 10 solar panels to charge a Tesla. This is only an estimate; in reality, the number of panels depends on several factors, such as the solar panel’s efficiency, the model Tesla being charged, and the power output of the connection being used.
How much energy does it take to charge a Tesla Model 3?
For the average American driver who commutes 30 miles every day, it takes about 7.75 kWh of energy to charge a Tesla Model 3.
How long would it take a solar energy system to charge a Tesla?
Charging a Tesla using solar panels can take anywhere from eight hours to several days, depending on the Tesla model, sun exposure, energy output, charger type, and how much charge the battery requires to reach 100 percent. To use a particular example, case studies show that a Tesla Model 3 takes 20 to 40 hours to charge with a Level one charger and eight to 12 hours to charge with a Level two charger (like the Tesla Wall Connector) under optimal conditions.
For those planning to go all in on clean energy, this breakdown hopefully helps you to envision the integration of solar and EVs. The next step toward a zero-emission household is to search for the right EV and compare quotes for a solar panel system. The EnergySage Marketplace allows you to compare real pricing data from homeowners in your area and review various financing options for free. For those looking for a personalized instant estimate for solar, try our Solar Calculator.