How Many Solar Panels Are Needed to Charge a Tesla?

The rising popularity of Tesla electric cars has massively reduced global carbon emissions. With electric-powered batteries and motors, the dependency on fossil fuels is reduced.

Like all battery-powered electrical devices, a Tesla, too, can get charged with solar panels. Many American states have several solar-powered charging stations, many of which are free to use.

With the correct number of solar panels and proper installation, a Tesla can rely entirely on clean solar energy. The abundance of solar charging stations and Tesla EVs would help the world move towards a cleaner and more sustainable future.

how many solar panels are required to charge a tesla
how many solar panels are required to charge a tesla

How Many Solar Panels Are Needed to Charge a Tesla?

Solar energy allows one of the most convenient and cleanest recharging options. With increasing dependability on solar energy, the world’s environmental crisis is bound to get better.

Any electrical device or appliance that runs on a battery can get charged with solar energy. The number of solar panels needed to charge a device would depend on the size of the battery.

In general, one needs almost 50 kW of electric charge to charge a standard range Tesla EV fully. However, the charge varies with every Tesla EV model and battery size.

Moreover, the heavier a Tesla is, the bigger its battery has to be to keep it going. As a result, a higher amount of electricity is needed to charge bigger Teslas fully.

Like all other battery-powered devices, installing solar panels can help charge a Tesla battery. However, the number of solar panels, size, and quality will determine the time needed.

In general, a set of a minimum of ten solar panels is needed. Each solar panel must be rated at least 300watts, or eight solar panels rated at 400 watts each would work fine.

The energy needed to charge a Tesla with solar power is almost 6kWh. Only with such panels, power, and energy would a Tesla be fully charged for at least 30miles.

However, the exact number of solar panels and power needed for a full recharge will depend on many factors. These factors include:

  • The model. Different Tesla models have unique shapes, sizes, features, and efficiencies. As a result, they have their own respective electric charging needs.
  • The battery size. The bigger a Tesla battery’s size, the more charge storage capacity it will have. As a result, more electric power would be needed to charge that battery fully.
  • Tesla’s total weight. The higher a Tesla’s weight, the bigger its battery has to be to power it. As a result, a higher electric charge would be needed to charge a heavier Tesla.

The table below shows different Tesla models, their battery sizes, and total weights. It also shows the number of solar panel cells needed.

Tesla ModelTotal Tesla Weight (kgs)Tesla Battery Size (kWh)Number of Solar Cells Needed
Tesla S2107857104
Tesla X24581007560
Tesla 3161150/824416

Certain calculations and formulas can be used to calculate the exact number of solar panels needed to charge a Tesla.

Continue reading below to learn about these formulas and their calculated results.

Read Solar Electric Car Charger

How to Calculate the Number of Solar Panels Needed to Charge a Tesla?

Tesla technology and engineering rely on the use of mathematical formulas and equations. These standard formulas can help determine how many solar panels would be required to charge a Tesla.

how many solar panels would it take to charge a tesla
how many solar panels would it take to charge a tesla

To calculate the required number of solar panels, you need the following:

  • A formula to calculate the daily energy (kWh) required to charge a Tesla;
  • The total Tesla power consumption;
  • The total number of miles driven.

Daily energy (kWh)= Power consumption per mile (Wh/miles) × Miles driven/365

Once we have calculated the daily energy (kWh), you can calculate the DC current needs with the following formula:

Power DC= Daily energy/peak hours of sunlight × 0.6

With the calculation of Power DC, you can move towards calculating the number of solar panels needed. For this, use the following formula:

Number of solar panels=Power DC/the total power of a single panel

The table below employs the above formulas. It shows the number of solar panels needed for charging each Tesla model. The average mileage and power rating per solar panel are kept constant.

Tesla ModelAverage Mileage (miles)Power Rating of Each Solar Panel (Watts)Calculated Daily Energy (kWh)Calculated Power DC (kW) Number of Solar Panels Needed for a Full Recharge
Tesla Model S1347640010.762.878
Tesla Model 3134764008.852.366
Tesla Model X1347640012.363.309
Tesla Model Y1347640010.342.767
Tesla Cybertruck1347640015.324.0911

Read Electric Car with Solar Panels

How is a Tesla Charged with the Help of Solar Power?

Like all solar-powered appliances, a Tesla solar power charging station captures the sun’s energy to generate electricity.

When the sun shines on a solar panel, the heat and light energy from the sun are used to heat the PV cells. This captured heat energy is converted to electrical energy, which helps charge a Tesla.

An inverter needs to be installed to charge a Tesla with solar energy. Using an inverter would allow the same charging time as a regular Tesla charger. Solar panels at home would charge a Tesla after a full day of charging.

Click here to learn how to connect an inverter to the Tesla charger. Learning this will allow you to use solar charging sources at home for charging your Tesla.

Read What Happens if Your Tesla Runs Out of Battery?

How Much Will It Cost to Charge a Tesla with Solar Panels?

Charging up a Tesla with solar panels is a much costlier method. The price of purchasing and installing the solar panels, the inverter, and other related items could together cost 15,000 to 17,000 USD.

The cost would vary according to the Tesla Model your drive. For instance, owning a Tesla Model 3 would only require you to purchase six 400W panels. While a Tesla Cybertruck would require investing in eleven 400W panels.

However, charging your Tesla at a public solar-powered charging station could be very cheap. Many solar-powered charging stations allow Tesla owners a free solar-powered recharge.

Investing in solar panels can be expensive; however, the payoff is excellent in the long run. Calculations suggest that solar panel investment for your Tesla is likely to break even after ten years.  

Click here to learn more about the market prices of going solar for your Tesla.

Read How Long Will a Tesla Battery Last?

How to Know When a Tesla is Fully Recharged?

Once you plug your Tesla into a solar-powered EV charging station, you need to watch the Tesla’s inbuilt system. The system is designed to show you the complete charging status.

It shows you the charging percentage and how much is still needed. Moreover, it also highlights the total time a complete recharge would take.

Furthermore, the system saves your common destinations and your average daily mileage. It then shows you how much charging you essentially need to get back home.

The JuiceNet website or app lets you get this information via your mobile device.

Read How Much Time Does It Take to Charge a Tesla

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Charging a Tesla with Solar Energy?

Advantages of Using Solar Panels to Charge a Tesla

  • Solar energy offers a clean source of energy that does not damage the environment in any way;
  • Solar energy is a renewable source of energy. Unlike fossil fuels that are limited resources, sunlight is ever abundant and available all around the globe;
  • The abundance of solar power EV charging stations has increased the popularity of electric cars. Hence, more people have shifted to electric cars. As a result, fossil fuels can be better utilized to power industries;
  • Solar panel energy causes less environmental pollution than electric grid stations;
  • A Tesla charged with solar energy performs just as well as being charged with any other source;
  • Many solar-powered EV charging stations offer free recharge services. Hence, charging a Tesla with solar panels is cost-effective;
  • The cost of solar energy is cheaper than grid power in most American states;
  • The cost of grid power charging stations could vary with the changing electricity prices. However, the cost of charging a Tesla with solar energy remains consistent;
  • Solar-powered EV charging stations are available all around the US.

Disadvantages of Using Solar Panels to Charge a Tesla

  • The level of sunlight you get will depend on where you live, and the time of the day matters as well. If the sun exposure is low, then the recharge would take much longer;
  • Without pre-stored electric charge, solar panels cannot charge a Tesla at night;
  • This method of charging up a Tesla is much costlier. The price of the solar panels, the inverter, and other related items could cost 15,000 to 17,000 USD. Usually, a heavy investment takes up to 10 years to breakeven or payoff;
  • A solar panel would store no charge during multiple days of rain or heavy cloud cover. As a result, you would have to shift to other charging sources;
  • Solar power EV charging stations are not as abundant as power grid EV charging stations. Hence, many Tesla owners do not have the luxury to enjoy solar recharging.

Read Why Is Tesla Better Than Other Electric Cars?

Other Ways to Charge a Tesla

Tesla offers three non-solar charging options. Two of these charging methods come with your purchase. All three charging options have different voltages and hence offer different charging durations.  

How many solar panels are needed to charge a tesla
How many solar panels are needed to charge a tesla

Tesla NEMA 5-15 120Volts Battery Charger

The NEMA 5-15 is a low-powered 120 Volts battery charger for charging the Tesla at home. The low voltage current supply takes the longest to charge all kinds of Tesla models.

However, this charging option works faster than solar charging at times of prolonged cloud cover. In general, the NEMA 5-15 takes one hour to charge a Tesla for a three-mile commute.

One has to plug this charger into any power supply wall outlet at home. Then connect the Tesla and leave it for a full recharge. This slow type of charge would be ideal if you could dedicate the entire night to charging.

Moreover, Elon Musk himself advises the use of this charging option. This is because fast and high-powered charging options can reduce a battery’s total capacity and range.   

Tesla NEMA 14-50 240Volts Battery Charger

This NEMA 14-50 charger is a 240Volts charger and offers faster charging than the NEMA 5-15. This charger must also be plugged into a wall outlet and is mostly used at home. The NEMA 14-50 takes 8-18 hours for a full charge.

Tesla Wall Connector 480Volts Battery Charger

The wall connector charger is a powerful 480 Volts charger. It takes much less time to charge a Tesla with this charger. Usually, one has to call a professional Tesla electrician to get the wall connector charging station installed at home.

To learn how to install the wall connector at home without any external help, click here.

Tesla DC Supercharger Charging Station

Tesla DC supercharger charging stations function just like public fuel stations. One can drive a Tesla to the station and get their EVs charged in 25-30mintes. The USA alone has around 908 such Tesla-installed supercharging stations.

With the easy accessibility of a fast DC supercharging station, one does not have to carry their cord and adaptors along while traveling. Instead, these stations allow Tesla drivers to commute longer distances without worrying about their charging.

Tesla DC superchargers offer services at varying rates according to their regional location. One state with lower electricity prices can offer a charging rate of 7USD, while another state’s charging rate could go up to 22USD.

Click here to find the details and location of the Tesla supercharging stations in the USA.

Related electric car articles:

Final Thoughts

Tesla’s futuristic design and technologies are helping humanity step into a cleaner world. With lowered carbon emissions and decreased fossil fuel dependency, the environmental conditions are bound to improve.

Choosing to charge your Tesla with solar panels can help save charging costs and reduce your electricity bills. Moreover, a clean energy source would further help save the planet from the current environmental crisis.