Electric cars are advertised as having zero emissions. An electric charging cable is seen here connected to an EV (Jason Lee/REUTERS)

Because the power mix in most areas contains some power generated from fossil fuels, charging a vehicle from the power grid often involves using greenhouse gas-emitting sources. That is why solar energy and electric vehicles are such a great combination.

Powering an electric vehicle with solar energy means that you are using a clean source of energy, free of fossil fuels.

Now, solar energy systems are more efficient than ever, many households have enough roof space to install a solar system that will power both the home and charge the vehicle.

If a home has enough space to power both depends on the solar equipment efficiency, size of the south-facing roof, shading on the panels, the energy required to charge the electric vehicle, and home energy use.

If you don’t have quite enough space for a properly sized solar system, determine if you have inefficient appliances. Even just a leaky, energy-hungry refrigerator can drive up your bills.

To size the solar system for both an electric car and household use, you will need a year or two of electrical usage data for your home, how many miles you plan to drive, and the mileage rating of the electric vehicle.

Many solar energy installers can help you make these calculations.

Many households with electric vehicles also have home electric vehicle charging stations. Such chargers allow vehicles to charge more quickly, saving time.


An electric charging cable is seen connected to the updated Nissan Leaf vehicle during a news conference in Japan, Tokyo, on Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012 /Kiyoshi Ota—Bloomberg

From the Nissan Leaf to the BMW i3 to the Tesla Model S, there are numerous reliable and fun electric cars on the market.

As the technology advances, the range is expanding and electric vehicle charging infrastructure is becoming more plentiful.

These advances make it even easier to rely on an electric vehicle.

Sarah Lozanova, MBA.
Sarah Lozanova is passionate about the new green economy and renewable energy. Her experience includes work with small-scale solar energy installations and utility-scale wind farms. She earned an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio School of Management and is a co-founder of Trees Across the Miles, an urban reforestation initiative.

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