Are Solar Powered EV Chargers Worth It?
You’ve seen them within parking structures, in parking lots, and even in some of your local plazas. Electric vehicle chargers are more commonplace than ever before, with more business owners and property owners using them to provide an easy resource for EV drivers to charge their vehicles.
On a global scale, electric vehicles are taking over, with more and more people switching over to electric cars than ever before. Because of this, solar-powered EV chargers are sprouting up everywhere.
In this article, we’re going to be diving into Solar Powered EV Chargers and their benefits for commercial properties.
How Does A Solar EV Charger Work?
Before we get into certain specifics, we would like to break down how commercial Solar EV chargers work, and how they provide a dynamic energy system for EVs.
When photons (sunlight) hit solar panels, electrons are removed from their atoms. The conductors within these solar panels guide the electrons through a circuit, which then generates direct current (DC) energy.
With multiple panels holding multiple cells, they form a solar array which gives you a bulk amount of energy. The DC energy is then guided into your inverter unit, which then converts DC energy into usable alternating current (AC) energy.
When you have more panels, more photons can be absorbed, and more energy can be sent into a property, or in this case – an electric vehicle.
Commercial Solar EV Chargers
The same principles apply to commercial solar EV chargers. They take energy from the sunlight that is captured, whether it’s a stand-alone EV charger, or connected to a massive solar array that encompasses an entire parking lot.
The utilization of this energy allows for consumers/EV drivers to park at their favorite places while charging their car for free or for a small payment.
The Difference Between DC and AC Charging
Remember how we said earlier that solar inverters change DC energy to AC energy? Well – your EV actually takes in both types of energy, and here’s how.
You see, there are two types of direct chargers on your EV. Your onboard charger, which allows AC energy, and your battery – which can directly absorb DC energy.
When you charge your vehicle with a regular onboard charger, you’re essentially sending a small drip of energy over long periods of time, like filling a bucket with drops of water. AC energy operates within a more stable charging curve, which means that it will gradually fill up your EV.
Generally, AC charging stations are found within parking structures, places where there isn’t direct contact with sunlight. The solar arrays are either on top of the structure or outside of it. That energy is then channelled within the parking structure’s AC charging stations, allowing EVs to charge up. Most of the time, they are free, which incentivizes the drivers of said EVs because they can park closer, and charge their vehicles at the same time.
DC Charging stations are commonly outside in parking lots, with direct contact with the sun. These DC charging stations charge EVs faster and will cost some money. This is because of how DC energy works and operates.
DC energy operates within a degrading charging curve, in which it will pump up a large amount of energy in the beginning, and then drop off near the end. Instead of a bucket getting only small drops of water, imagine filling up that bucket with a fully powered hose. You can fill up the water quickly in the beginning – but you will need to reduce water flow before the bucket overfills.
In short, a solar EV charger within a structure will give your electric vehicle AC power – where it can fill up slowly and steadily.
A solar EV charger out in the city, or within a business complex would actually guide the DC energy directly into your vehicle, without any change. That is why you can charge an EV directly from a DC charging station – and your EV would be finished charging within 30 to 60 minutes.
So now that we’ve covered EV chargers and the different types of them, we can be sure that you’re wondering about something else as well. Are solar-powered EV chargers worth it for your commercial property?
The short answer is yes. They are definitely worth it.
The Return on Investment of EV Chargers
Electric vehicles on average save about $632 per year compared to their gas-powered counterparts.
Even without an EV charger at home, you’re already saving a bundle of cash.
With a solar-powered home, you’re also saving a large portion of cash on your energy bills. In Australia – using rooftop solar to charge an EV saves about $760 AUD annually, versus $2104 AUD annually at public EV charging stations. You’re saving more than double the amount by simply having an EV charger at home.
Furthermore, our good friends at The Driven found that “households charging their EV from a home solar-battery system can expect to save up to $12,000 over a 15-year period. Switching to an EV is now a no-brainer for most Australians.”
So in both the long and short term, you’re saving a good amount of money – while saving the planet.
As a business owner or commercial property owner, having a solar-powered EV charging station will bring you a great deal of liquidity from EV drivers fueling up at your charging stations, but also brings opportunities to your business and other businesses around you. When an EV driver chooses to charge at your particular station – they will have to spend some time there.
So they might grab a bite, run an errand there – or even they can relax and go into the stores nearby, the possibilities are endless.
Is it worth it to have a solar-powered EV charger for your business or commercial property?
More drivers than ever before are switching to EVs because of their sustainability and other incentives. Emerging technologies are around to cater to the new age of electric vehicle drivers. Either you’re left behind by not making your commercial property useful for EV drivers, or you can rake in some green by going green.