Driving an electric vehicle (EV) is a great way to save on fuel costs while also helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Charging your EV with rooftop solar panels is an even greater way to save and reduce your carbon footprint, you’re literally driving on sunshine!

But how many solar panels do you need to offset your annual driving costs? That comes down to a few quick calculations. First, determine:

  • how much does the current electricity cost?
  • how many kilometres do you drive per year?
  • what range does your EV battery have?
  • how many kilowatt-hours it takes to charge your EV?

The current cost for BC Hydro supplied electricity is 9.92* cents per kWh (Step 1) for first 22.1918 kWh per day (or ~8100 kWh per year) and 14.88* cents (Step 2) for any additional power. The average house uses over 10,000 kWh per year and is already well into the expensive Step 2 rate. Adding an electric car usually means all of what the car consumes would be at the Step 2 rate (14.88 cents per kWh).

Let’s compare a few different EVs, assuming you drive 30 kilometers per day including weekends. Over a year, that’s nearly 11,000 kilometres.

Vehicle Type                                      Range                                                                   Mileage

Nissan Leaf                                         172 km 18,7 kWh/100 km                                     2057

Hyundai IONIQ Electric                       200 km 15,4 kWh/100 km                                     1694

Chevrolet Bolt EV                                383 km 17,64 kWh/100 km                                   1940

The Nissan Leaf would require 6 (5.295) solar panels at 370 watts each to charge for the year. A solar array of this size would need 132 square feet of roof space.

The Hyundai IONIC would require 5 (4.36) solar panels at 370 watts each in order to offset the charging cost. A solar array of this size would need 110 square feet of roof space.

Similarly, the Chevy Bolt would require 5 (4.993) solar panels at 370 watts each to charge for the year. A solar array of this size would need 110 square feet of roof space.

The average Canadian spends $1510+/year on fuel at the pumps. But what does that mean in terms of the cost to operate the EV vehicle for a year:

Fueled by:

                                                                Electricity*                          Solar**

Nissan Leaf                                         $306.08                                 $0.00

Hyundai IONIQ Electric                       $252.07                                 $0.00

Chevrolet Bolt EV                                $288.67                                 $0.00

A Penfolds’ home solar system with a 40-year warranty means you can enjoy saving money on your BC Hydro bills and at the gas pump … all while driving an electric vehicle fuelled by sunshine for decades!

*BC Hydro rates as of June 2019   **Savings are after the cost of the initial investment.

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