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How Much Money Could You Save if You Charged Your EV With Solar?

Publish Date: March 25th, 2024

Buying an EV (electric vehicle) is a decision that helps the environment and makes a statement. Since widespread electrification is an important part of climate mitigation, your EV is a commitment to the future you want to see.

Another huge bonus? It can save you thousands of dollars over its lifespan. Between the federal tax credit, fuel savings, and lower maintenance costs, your savings can definitely add up.

And when it comes to EV charging, having a solar system on your roof could increase your savings even more.

At Namaste Solar, we’re committed to building a more just, equitable, and sustainable future. And we’re doing it one solar panel at a time. We love the residential solar system and EV combo because it allows our customers to double up on savings, while doing good for our planet.

So, how does your EV compare to a traditional gas vehicle? What’s the impact of charging it with traditional utility energy? And how much bigger of an impact could you have if you charged your EV with electricity from a solar system on your roof?

We gathered the latest data to answer these questions and more. Let’s dig in.

Electric Cars vs Gas Cars: Money and the Environment

There’s no doubt that your gas car costs you and the environment more than an EV would.

When it comes to fuel costs, the actual amount drivers spend varies depending on the state, lifestyle, and driving habits. But on average, Americans spend between $150 and $200 on gas every month.

And when it comes to the environmental impact of GHG (greenhouse gases) your gas car emits, the typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons of CO2 per year.

It’s clear that traditional gasoline cars can create a significant financial and environmental burden. We know we feel it every time we’re at the pump!

Now, let’s look at the financial and environmental benefits of an EV.

Electric Vehicles: Saving Money and Helping the Environment

The financial and environmental benefits of an EV are big reasons most people make the investment.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, charging an electric car at home – using traditional utility energy - would cost nearly $60 per month (at the average U.S. household rate of 16 cents per kWh). This doesn’t even factor in the variance you’ll experience through factors like Time of Use billing.

That means that your EV can save you anywhere from $90 to $140 per month on fuel costs. You can count on higher savings if gas prices are higher or you consistently drive further distances.

And these fuel savings you get to enjoy from day one with an EV.

But what about the environment?

If you charge your EV at home and you don’t have a solar system on your roof, it’s likely that your EV runs on fossil fuels.

The average utility provider gets their electricity from 60% fossil fuels, 19% nuclear, and just 21% renewables.

And with that mix, there’s likely further environmental impacts that can be challenging to measure.

But charging your EV with electricity from the grid is still better for the environment than your gasoline car.

Especially in certain jurisdictions that are getting power from more renewable sources. Longmont, for example, produces 50% of the city’s power supply from wind, hydro, and solar.

With EV’s, there are emissions generated during the production of the vehicle. And while there are varying amounts of emissions created from the electricity used to charge it, there are no emissions at the place of use.

MIT found that EVs will create fewer carbon emissions than gasoline-burning cars under nearly any conditions. And as the technology advances, the environmental benefit is expected to rise.

So, you can feel good about saving money with your EV while enjoying a lower environmental footprint.

But what if you charged your EV with solar power? What kind of savings could you expect? And would your environmental footprint get even lower?

Electric Vehicle & Residential Solar Power: The Dynamic Duo

A residential solar system is a home improvement project that’s actually an investment. It allows you to get out of utility debt, build equity in your home, and save money on your electricity.

And when you complete your EV charging using electricity that comes from your home solar system, your savings double up.

The technology of electric cars and solar panels are a dream team together. Their pairing increases your energy independence, builds a cleaner future, and saves you money.

To start, a solar system can save the average homeowner $125 per month (or $1,500 annually) on their electric bill. That adds up to more than $40,000 over the life of the system – which is enough for most households to recoup their initial investment and then some.

While some of our customers have seen savings much higher than this, all solar customers see an increase in savings over time. As utility rates increase, solar customers who locked in energy prices when they bought their solar system enjoy increased savings.

And environmentally, the carbon footprint of rooftop solar panels was found to be roughly 12 times less than natural gas and 20 times less than coal.

If you’re charging an EV off of that solar system, SolarReviews found that you’d pay $219 for a year of fuel (13,500 miles or 3,645 kWh) while producing 321 lbs of CO2. Compare that to its (conservative) gasoline estimate of $1,440 per year for 420 gallons, creating 8,135 lbs of CO2.

They went on to do two other comparisons: public EV charging and charging with home grid power. With public EV charging, they estimate that you’ll spend $1,134 for the same amount of fuel while producing 1,837 lbs of CO2. With charging at home using your utility company, they estimate that you’ll pay $830 per year and produce 1,837 lbs of CO2. In all of these instances, the amount of kWh you’ll consume remains the same (3,645 kWh) but the price of the electricity varies widely.

If you're more of a visual person, you can check out this graph from SolarReviews to see how charging stacks up.

EV charging comparison graph from SolarReviewsGraph by SolarReviews

You can see that when you go with an EV, you’ll have a multitude of ways to charge it. But the data suggests that running your EV on home solar will cost less for you and the environment.

In the same solar-powered EV report, SolarReviews estimates that charging an EV with solar for 25 years could result in $16,250+ in savings by the end of the solar panels’ production warranty.

More impressive than the numbers is the potential to use the sun as your gas station. You can bid farewell to pumping dinosaur juice into your tank and instead, can use the sun’s enormous power to fuel your next trip – whether it’s across town or a larger excursion.

All of this together means that charging your EV off of the solar panels on your roof has the potential to significantly reduce the environmental impact of your home and your travel.

Besides, saving money and helping the environment are probably priorities at the top of your list. And if that’s the case, you have the chance to accomplish both at once by charging your EV with solar.

Is An EV and Residential Solar Combo Right for You?

Whether combining these technologies makes sense for you is going to depend on your specific circumstances. Factors that could influence your decision include finances, your home’s compatibility, and your long-term goals.

At Namaste Solar, we’ve got a team of expert consultants that’ll be the first to tell you if solar or EV charging isn’t right for your home. And we’d give you the same, transparent advice we’d give our most cherished friends. Our non-commissioned approach means that our sales team is motivated by giving you the best advice, not making the sale.

We offer free quotes on solar systems and EV charging stations. You can get yours by talking to one of our experienced experts. And you can learn more about our EV charger offers by visiting our home EV charger installation page.

No pressure, no hassle. Just the most relevant, up-to-date information for you and your family. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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