April 16, 2024

Maximize Your Solar EV Charging Station Savings

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6 Min. Read

Recent innovations, lower costs, and the pressing need to address climate change are driving the renewable energy transition.

As a residential customer, you can play an important role by leveraging the latest technologies to combine EV adoption with solar charging. This approach stands out as one of the most effective ways of reducing your carbon footprint while saving on fuel and electricity costs.

In this article, we explore the harmony between solar power and EV charging, how to cut charging costs with a solar EV charging station, and how to unlock additional savings.

The Synergy of Solar Power and EV Charging

EV adoption will immediately reduce fuel costs along with your environmental footprint. However, charging at home can cause your electricity bill to go up, with EV drivers using an additional 408 kWh a month on average.

The alternative to drawing more power from the grid is to invest in a residential solar array. Rooftop solar is a booming industry while innovations and lower costs are making renewable energy more accessible than ever.

Solar panels can power a solar EV charging station during the day or fill a battery that makes EV charging available at all times while acting as a backup in case of outages. EV models that support bidirectional charging can create additional value by recharging the battery with leftover charges.

Besides reducing the cost of EV charging, solar power increases your energy resilience and ensures that EV charging is always available independently from the grid. It also supports additional electrification projects without increasing your energy bills.

Sustainability is another key benefit. Even though one-fourth of the electricity produced in the U.S. will come from renewable sources by the end of 2024, this percentage is much lower in some areas. A solar EV charging station can increase your personal reliance on renewable energy to 100%.

Reducing Energy Costs with a Solar EV Charging Station

The financial benefits of a solar EV charging station vary based on several factors. These include how much you drive, how efficient your EV model is, and how much your electricity provider charges per kWh.

The average EV driver using 408 kWh a month to keep their electric car charged would pay a monthly fee of $66 based on the nationwide average of $0.16 per kWh for residential customers. This cost can significantly increase if you rely on public charging, where rates can reach $0.30 per kWh or more for Level 2 charging and upwards of $0.40 per kWh for DC Fast charging.

Since EVs have an average range of three to four miles per kWh, using 408 kWh of electricity a month would translate to driving between 1,224 and 1,632 miles. Charging costs will likely exceed $66 a month if you drive more.

You also have to consider local energy rates. Many utility providers charge more than the average rate of $0.16 per kWh. Rates may be even higher during peak hours as more utilities adopt Time-of-Use programs that adjust pricing based on demand.

Leveraging Solar Net Metering for Additional Savings

Investing in a solar EV charging station will turn you into an active player in the local energy infrastructure. Thanks to net metering programs, you can support a more resilient and renewable energy source for all by uploading your excess power to the grid.

Net metering programs are available in 40 states, and additional states use other distributed generation compensation models.

Utilities with net metering programs will purchase your excess energy at a set rate and issue energy credits in exchange. It’s a possible alternative to investing in an energy storage system. Still, some homeowners opt for both and rely on automated systems to alternate between storing excess energy and uploading it to the grid based on what’s more advantageous at the time.

Besides contributing to a cleaner energy infrastructure, net metering will help offset the cost of investing in solar.

Government Incentives and Tax Credits for Solar EV Charging Stations

The Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law resulted in unprecedented federal investments toward the energy transition. Some of these investments are directly benefitting homeowners in the form of tax credits and other programs.

Taking advantage of these programs will help you save on your electrification project. You can claim the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property Credit to save up to 30% of the cost of installing an at-home EV charger, with a limit of $1,000.

You can claim a similar credit to cover up to 30% of your residential solar project under the Federal Tax Credit for Solar Photovoltaics. This credit includes energy storage devices.

If you need a panel upgrade to support your changing electrification needs, the Energy Efficient Home Improvement Tax Credit will cover 30% of the cost with a limit of $600.

You can maximize savings by combining these federal credits with additional programs available at the state, municipal, and utility levels. The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency is a great place to start your search. You can also reach out to your utility provider to find out about possible rebates or preferred TOU rates.

Future-Proofing Your Energy Costs

Investing in a solar EV charging station requires careful planning. A more significant initial investment can help reduce costs in the future as your electrification needs change.

Fluctuating energy rates are an important consideration. As more utilities invest in modernizing their infrastructure and deploying renewables, residential rates will likely increase. Net metering incentives are becoming less appealing as some states update the value of energy credits.

Your own energy needs will likely increase over time. Possible reasons include purchasing a second EV, replacing your HVAC system with an electric alternative, or investing in an electric water heater.

Developing an electrification strategy that frees you from the grid gives you control over your energy consumption. It also gives you some leeway for implementing future electrification projects. Despite the upfront costs, a solar EV charging station will help you save in the long term.

Environmental and Sustainability Considerations for Solar EV Charging

Driving an EV will significantly reduce your carbon footprint, given that the average gas-powered vehicle produces 4.6 metric tons of CO2 a year.

However, the energy source you use to charge your EV can partially offset this environmental benefit by contributing to emissions. With solar energy reducing CO2 emissions by 976 pounds per MWh compared to natural gas, solar power emerges as an effective way of maximizing the environmental benefits of EV adoption.

Planning Your Solar EV Charging Project with Qmerit

EV adoption unlocks immediate savings at the pump and significantly reduces your carbon footprint. You can maximize these benefits by charging your EV with renewable energy from a solar array. Doing so will create additional benefits such as reducing your energy bills, allowing you to participate in net-metering programs, and supporting a cleaner energy infrastructure.

Installing a solar EV charging station requires some planning and the help of a professional who can assess your electrification needs, develop a customized solution, and help you navigate incentives.

Thanks to our network of certified installers, Qmerit can help turn your clean-energy project into a reality. We have helped over 450,000 customers with EV charger installations, integrated more than 81,000 solar power systems, and installed over 37,000 battery storage projects to support the energy transition.

Do you need help maximizing your savings by combining EV charging with solar energy? Contact Qmerit today to learn more about our electrification services.

Author: Greg Sowder

Greg Sowder

President, Qmerit Network