Are you looking to make the switch from petrol cars to electric vehicles but concerned about charging costs? Rooftop solar for electric vehicles can be a great solution. With rooftop solar, you can enjoy all the benefits of energy freedom without having to worry about expensive electricity bills. 

The Power of Rooftop Solar for Electric Vehicles

Learn how it works, what are the associated costs and installation process with this guide on rooftop solar for EVs in Australia. Don't miss out on all the advantages that come along with owning an EV powered for free from your  rooftop solar.

If you are still deciding if an Electric Vehicle is right for you, check out The Driven or Choice.

an electric car being charged

EV charging with rooftop solar

So you’ve purchased an EV and are either enjoying quiet, fast, fun, and pollution free driving, or impatiently waiting for your new electric car to finally arrive. The first thing you will want to do is charge your car at home, and the cheapest way to do that is with rooftop solar. 

How much energy you need to charge your new EV will depend on how far you drive, your EV model, and how much of your charging you do at home. Using the most popular Tesla Model 3, driving the national average of 15,000km each year, with 70% of your charging at home means that you will use 6 kWh per day to charge your car. 

Cost savings with solar panels

By installing a rooftop solar to power your home and electric vehicle, you'll be making a wise investment that pays off quickly. Picture this: Generating your own electricity from the sun's energy to power your car and saving money on your electricity bills! 

residential solar on rooftop

A rooftop solar system will provide cheap power during sunlight hours so you can charge your vehicle with free or low-cost renewable energy instead of relying on expensive grid power.  Of course your car will need to be at home during the day for at least a couple of days each week for this to work. 

When charging your EV at home you essentially have three options:

  1. Charge from the sun. The cheapest option is to charge during daylight hours from your rooftop solar. If you use a smart EV charger, the cost is equal to your solar Feed in Tariff (FiT) which is typically about 8c/kWh, or $0.48 per day. That’s a bargain!
  2. Off peak. The next cheapest is to charge overnight when electricity prices are low. If you are on a Time of Use (ToU) tariff, this is typically about 16c/kWh, or $0.96 per day. 
  3. Anytime. The most expensive is to simply plug in and charge whenever you are home. A typical flat rate energy tariff is 30c/kWh, so this would cost $1.80 per day.

The cost of charging an electric vehicle (EV) with rooftop solar in Australia varies. According to this article, the average electricity cost for at-home electric car charging in Australia is $18.20 for a 60 kWh battery using a reference rate of 30.32 c/kWh (flat rate). However, using rooftop solar to charge an EV can be essentially free if you charge at the right time! That means, charging your vehicle at peak solar production during the day.

If you already have a solar panel system and want to see how much you’re actually saving, and how much excess solar you have available to charge your EV, try a free 30 day trial with Solar Analytics.

Environmental impact

So, what are the environmental benefits of charging with solar? An electric vehicle decreases greenhouse gas emissions by 60% when charging at a public EV charging station or at work because an EV is more efficient than a petrol vehicle, and the electricity mix in Australia is 38% from renewable sources. This can be increased to 81% when charging the electric vehicle with your home solar system most of the time. Home solar charging also contributes the least amount of carbon emissions compared to charging with electricity from the power grid because the energy is coming from the sun on your roof.

Costs of rooftop solar for EV charging

electric car being charged

Solar installation costs

The cost of installing a rooftop solar system will depend on how much solar you want, and what quality you are prepared to pay for. In 2022 the average system size for a residential home was 8.5 kW, and cost around $8,000. We always recommend to 

We always tell our friends and family to install the biggest solar system they can fit on their roof to maximise their energy freedom and financial benefit.  If you’re wondering for the right size of solar system for you, you should cover your entire roof! Read this article on why a bigger solar system is almost always better. 

If you’re thinking of getting rooftop solar, get a quote from SolarQuotes and make sure to include Solar Analytics!

Maintenance costs

Typically a solar system only needs a check up every 5 years, with the cost of cleaning and servicing a rooftop solar system of about $300 for a standard service by an accredited solar planner. The cost will depend on the type and how many solar panels are installed, their condition, and location. 

Before you spend your precious dollars on maintenance, there’s a much cheaper option that you should consider and that is monitoring. Read our article on how to get the most out of your rooftop solar through advanced monitoring!

Battery storage is an optional component that allows you to store excess energy generated by your rooftop solar system for later use during peak times or when there's no sunlight available (such as at night or extremely stormy days). The cost of installing a solar battery ranges from $1,000 to $2,000 per kWh of storage capacity, with an average cost of $1,240 per kWh. The cost of the solar battery will vary depending on the size of the system, the location, and any additional features needed. If you’re trying to figure out if installing a battery is right for you, check out our article that analyses battery savings and see if it makes financial sense!

Although rooftop solar for EV charging has some upfront costs, it definitely is a cost-effective way to reduce your electricity bills in the long run. 

Traditional and smart charging

Here are the two types of charging available, and why you want a smart charger.

electric car harger

Traditional electric vehicle charging

The traditional way of charging EVs relies on a standard charger connected to your home’s electrical grid. All you have to do is simply plug it in, and it will charge until the vehicle’s battery is full. While convenient, this method can lead to higher energy bills due to peak usage charges

Smart charging

Smart charging with solar power is a more informed and sustainable solution for electric vehicle owners. Unlike traditional home EV charging, smart charging utilises excess energy generated by your solar system during peak production hours to power your vehicle. This not only reduces strain on the electrical grid, but also has the potential to lower your energy bills by avoiding peak usage charges. 

By using solar energy to charge your EV, you are making a positive impact on the environment and contributing to the adoption of renewable energy sources. If you're an EV owner in Australia, consider making the switch to smart charging with solar power for a greener and more cost-effective driving experience!

If you’re interested in the future of electric vehicle charging, read our article on how Nigel Morris, Solar Analytics’ Head of Business Development, charges his electric motorcycle using an EV charge controller.

Can I Use A Portable Solar Panel To Charge My EV?

Yes and no. While it's technically possible to charge an EV with a portable solar panel, the practicality and efficiency may be limited. The power output of these panels might not meet the requirements for effectively charging an EV.

Final Thoughts: Harnessing Solar Power for Electric Vehicles

Rooftop solar for electric vehicles is a great way to save money on your electricity bills and reduce your carbon footprint. With the benefits of reduced energy costs, less power consumption, increased efficiency, and environmental friendliness, it's no wonder most Australians who purchase an electric vehicle also add on rooftop solar. So if you're looking for a cost-effective and eco-friendly solution to charging your EV, then consider investing in a rooftop solar system today.

If you’re ready for energy freedom and are looking to install a solar system, check out SolarQuotes and make sure to include Solar Analytics!

Key takeaways

  1. Charging your EV with solar power from your own roof is the cheapest and cleanest way to power your car.
  2. Utilise excess solar energy production by charging your EV during the day by using Solar Analytics and ChargeHQ.
  3. Get a smart charging system to automatically charge your EV at the optimum time.
  4. Sign-up for Solar Analytics’ 30-days free trial to ensure you’re always maximising your solar savings.