Our dependence on fossil fuel has become increasingly problematic the last years, both from an environmental perspective and geopolitical issues. In response, many countries are trying to use less fossil fuels. Within the transportation sector, electric driving has therefore become a prominent trend. But electric driving is also being used more privately, and sales of electric cars have skyrocketed.
The environmental impact of electric cars, besides their production, is primarily determined by the electricity it takes to get them moving. It is a challenge to generate all this energy sustainably. Therefore, there is an urgent need to encourage renewable energy production. One of the most popular renewable sources, which households can generate themselves, is solar energy. But what exactly is solar energy and is it possible to charge a car with it?
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What Is Solar Energy?
When we talk about solar energy, most people think of solar panels. Although the two are related, solar energy means something slightly different. Simply, solar energy refers to the energy emitted by the sun, some of which ends up on Earth. This energy can be used by humans to produce electricity, through a photovoltaic process.
A photovoltaic panel consists of hundreds of solar cells, each made up of a semiconductor (usually silicon). This semiconductor absorbs sunlight and converts it into electricity by creating an electron flow. This electricity can then be used to directly power the building on which the panels are installed. This photovoltaic process is what we commonly call ‘solar energy’. We call the photovoltaic panels ‘solar panels’.
Can You Charge Your Electric Car With Solar Panels?
In short: it can be done. While solar panels by themselves contribute significantly to cost savings and sustainability, pairing them with an electric car can add to these benefits. This is because the solar panels on your roof can generate the electricity used to charge your electric car, reducing costs and making your car truly sustainable to drive. While it is unlikely that a standard solar panel installation will be able to fully charge your electric car, it can at least help generate some of the electricity used by your car. If you don’t have solar panels or you are on the road and you need to charge your car, you can go to a charging station along the highway. With EV charging infrastructure there is data from charging points all over the country and the world. So for example, if you use TomTom, they will give you the right data for finding charging points. Eco-Movement is an supplier for EV charging stations dataset. They provide the right data for companies like Google Maps and TomTom.