Can Solar Power Charge a Tesla?

Tesla cars aren't just capable of being charged using solar power, the manufacturer actually encourages customers to do so. Tesla acquired solar panel installation company SolarCity in 2016 and since then has touted their vehicles and solar panels as a great pairing. By using these two services together, customers can work towards creating a zero-emissions home.

Using Solar Panels to Charge a Tesla

Tesla vehicles are well-known for their environmental friendliness and, while their electric motors do produce some carbon emissions, they're far, far greener than their petrol and diesel-powered competitors. However, while the cars themselves are eco-friendly, the energy used to charge them often isn't. Many Teslas, and electric cars in general, are charged using electricity produced from fossil fuels. These forms of energy production can cause air pollution, climate change, and other harmful environmental impacts.

There is another option, though. By installing a solar panel system in your home, you can completely charge your Tesla with clean and renewable solar energy. The efficiency of solar panel charging will vary based on a variety of different factors, but it is a realistic option for nearly every home out there.

In general, one of the downsides to a solar panel system on its own is that it will often generate more energy than a home requires. Without a proper energy storage system, a lot of this energy goes unused. As a Tesla owner, however, this is a positive. If you have a Tesla, that energy can be used to charge your vehicle as their batteries work as perfect solar power storage solutions.

How Many Solar Panels Will it Take to Charge a Tesla?

There are a few different factors that need to be taken into account when determining how many solar panels it will take to charge a Tesla. The efficiency of your solar panels, the kW of your system, the specific Tesla model, and even your location will all factor into how many panels you'll need.

Take, for instance, the Tesla Model 3 Performance vs. the Tesla Model S. The Model 3 Performance requires 94.242 kWh to charge its battery, whereas the Model S requires 118.366 kWh. Each Tesla model requires different amounts of energy to charge, so you can safely assume they'll each require varying amounts of solar panels as well. When you take into consideration that not all solar panels generate the same amount of energy, it's easy to see why everyone might require a different solar panel amount to properly charge their specific vehicle.

Speaking in broad terms, however, it will take approximately 10 solar panels on average in order to charge a Tesla.

How Long Does it Take to Charge a Tesla Using Solar Power?

Much like determining how many solar panels you'll require to charge your Tesla, the amount of time it takes to charge a Tesla vehicle will also be dependent on a few factors. Two of the most important factors are the connection type you're using and the model of Tesla you're charging. As explained before, each Tesla model has its own energy requirements to charge the battery. Since some have a larger charge capacity, they'll understandably take longer to fully charge.

The type of connection you're using to charge your Tesla will also play a large role in how long it takes to fully charge. The NEMA 5-15 charger gives your car about 3 miles of range for every hour it's charging and can take 4 to 8 days to fully charge a battery from 0%. The NEMA 14-50 adapter on the other hand is significantly faster, charging your vehicle 20 to 30 miles per hour depending on the model. These will fully charge your Tesla in 9 to 22 hours.

The last type of connection you can use is the Wall Connector. These in-home charging stations are undeniably the fastest method and can charge your car's battery up to 44 miles per hour. A full charge with one of these will take between 6 and 15 hours.