Solar panels and electric cars are like two peas in a pod. One gives you the ability to travel emissions-free and the other allows you to power your life without spending a fortune. Sounds like a win-win!
If you’ve already purchased an electric car, odds are you’ve seen a pretty solid increase in your monthly electric bill and are looking for a way to lower those costs. You’re no longer paying for gas but you’ve basically swapped some of the cost by paying more for your electricity. And if you’re just starting to research electric cars, it’s a great idea to count all the costs involved before jumping in.
That’s where a solar panel system comes in – depending on the system size you choose, you can take a hefty chunk out of (or even eliminate) your utility bill. The electric car charging costs will be in addition to your regular electric bill, which will definitely send you into the higher tiers (that gets pricey!)
So how much energy does an electric car use?
Electric vehicles are rated by how many kWh (kilowatt hours) it takes to drive 100 miles. According to Plug In America, “the average EV needs about 30 kWh of electricity to power the vehicle for 100 miles.”
After you calculate a rough estimate of the amount of extra energy you will be using with an electric vehicle, you can talk to a solar consultant to discuss what size system would be best for your home to help address the increased power load.
How does the cost per kWh compare to the cost per mile of gas?
The average electric cost per kWh in the US is 12 cents (first tier) and if you go by an estimated average of 15,000 miles driven per year, that’ll bring you to $540 additional electric costs annually.
The average cost of a gallon of gas in the US is $2.35 and if you again go with an average of 15,000 miles driven per year, your total annual gas costs would be $1,400.
Gas and electricity prices vary from state to state but comparisons show that there’s a definite savings by choosing to drive an electric car. California has some of the highest gas prices in the nation so Californians are more likely to pay much more than the average of $1,400 annually. Also, keep in mind that these averages are based on brand-new vehicle ratings so as the car ages, efficiency will naturally decrease.
Look Towards the Future
Even if you aren’t ready just yet to purchase an electric car, you can still start prepping by estimating your future electric costs with a solar panel system. Systems can always be added to later as your electric needs grow. And you can also take advantage of any rebates or tax incentives that are locally and federally offered now before those expire.