How Long To Charge A Tesla With Solar Panels?

ByDonna Vanpelt

How Long To Charge A Tesla With Solar Panels?

The paradigm shift towards sustainable energy has intensified the conversation about the compatibility between solar power and electric vehicles (EVs) in Canada. A frequently asked question is, how long does it take to charge a Tesla with solar panels?

Generally speaking, it can take around 7 hours to 10 days. It depends on your solar system. Keep reading to untangle the relationship between solar panels and your Tesla charging time.

Why Solar Panels Are the Future

The popularity of electric vehicles, particularly the Tesla models, indicates Canada’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions.

Charging a Tesla with solar panels taps into an energy source that is renewable and eco-friendly. The nation’s expansive land area is an advantage, offering ample space to install solar panels.

Determining Your Solar Panel Output

a tesla charger

Solar Panel Efficiency and Power Rating

A key term to understand is PV panel efficiency. This metric determines how effectively a solar panel can convert sunlight into electricity.

The average solar panel efficiency ranges between 15-20% in Canada. Another essential term is the power rating, measured in watts (W).

Besides, this determines the maximum output of a panel under ideal conditions. For instance, a 300W panel with 20% efficiency will usually provide 60W of power.

How Many Solar Panels Do You Need?

The number of solar panels needed to charge a Tesla with solar depends on two main factors:

  1. The energy requirements of the Tesla battery
  2. The energy output from each panel

For instance, if a Tesla electric car Model 3 requires 50 kWh for a full charge, and each of your panels provides 300Wh daily, you would need around 167 panels for a single.

Of course, this is a simplified calculation; practical factors such as sunlight hours, weather conditions, and solar inverters efficiency play a role.

The Integration of Solar Panels and Tesla

Portable Solar Panels

For those on the move always portable solar panels are an option.

Though they will not charge your Tesla electric vehicle as quickly as a fixed installation due to their smaller size and power capacity, these portable solar panel options are perfect for emergencies or supplementing your primary power source.

Energy Storage

While directly charging your electric vehicle from solar panels is enticing, many setups involve charging a home battery system (like Tesla Powerwall) during the day, which then charges the Tesla overnight.

Besides, this allows for a consistent and reliable energy supply, regardless of sunlight conditions.

The Compatibility of Different Tesla Models with Solar Panels

Which Tesla Model Do You Own?

It is crucial to understand the specific energy requirements of each Tesla model to determine the feasibility and efficiency of charging a Tesla with PV panels.

Let us delve into the specifics:

Tesla Model 3: The standard range plus has a battery capacity of about 54 kWh.

Therefore, if your solar panels produce a combined output of 5 kW per hour under optimal conditions, you would theoretically need about 10.8 hours of peak sunlight to fully charge it.

Tesla Model S: A long-range Model S boasts a battery capacity of around 100 kWh. With the same solar panels producing 5 kW, you would require approximately 20 hours of peak sunlight.

Tesla Model X: For the long-range version, the battery capacity sits at about 100 kWh, similar to the Model S. Again, you would need roughly 20 hours of peak sunlight with a 5 kW solar setup.

Tesla Model Y: The long-range Model Y has a battery capacity near 75 kWh. With the 5 kW solar panel setup, about 15 hours of sunlight at peak would be necessary.

These figures are approximations, as PV panel efficiency, weather conditions, and the state of the car battery (i.e., not often zero when charging starts) will affect the actual charging time.

Charging Time Variation Across Models

As indicated by the battery capacities:

A Tesla Model S or Model X, with its substantial 100 kWh battery, would require the most solar power and consequently more peak sun hours for a full charge.

On the other hand, a Tesla Model 3 would take almost half that time due to its smaller battery capacity, especially when considering the standard range version.

The Model Y finds its place in between, demanding more hours than the Model 3 but fewer than the Model S or X.

It is crucial to note that these charging times would change based on the total energy output of your solar panels.

The above examples depend on a combined PV panel output of 5 kW. Adjusting for different setups would modify these figures accordingly.

Factors Affecting Solar Energy Production

The Role of Peak Sun Hours

Peak sun hours refer to the number of hours in a day when solar radiation is at its maximum. Canada, with its varying seasons, has fluctuations in peak sun hours.

Thus, while you might require more solar panels in the winter due to reduced sun hours, the summer might offer ample energy with fewer panels.

Importance of Solar Installation Placement

The placement of your solar installation has a significant impact on energy capture.

Installing panels facing the sun path can maximize energy capture, reducing the time needed to charge a Tesla.

Utilizing tracking systems can further enhance this by adjusting panels to follow the sun.

Integrating Solar Panels with Tesla Battery System

Using Tesla Powerwall in Conjunction with Solar Panels

When thinking of how many solar panels are needed, it is vital to consider a storage solution.

Tesla Powerwall can store surplus solar energy during the day, which can then charge your electric vehicle during non-peak sun hours or cloudy days.

Again, this ensures that even when the sun is not shining brightly, your Tesla can still get charged using green energy.

Maximizing Battery Power for Longer Drives

An efficient solar system allows you to charge a Tesla and ensures you can optimize the battery power for longer drives.

Combining solar panels with Tesla’s advanced battery technology means road trips can be more sustainable without the range anxiety commonly associated with EVs.

The Growing Trend of Combining Solar and Tesla

Tesla Vision – More Than Just Cars

Tesla’s vision goes beyond producing electric vehicles. With products like the Solar Roof and Powerwall, it is evident that the brand envisions a future where homes and cars run on clean energy.

Charging a Tesla with solar panels is its vision, making the combination more than just a trend but a step towards sustainable living.

Collaborative Ventures and Future Endeavors

There may be closer integration between Tesla cars and solar solutions later.

With innovations in solar technology and Tesla’s continuous push towards sustainable transport, we might soon see packages where buying a Tesla also includes a custom solar installation plan.

The synergy between solar panels and Tesla cars presents a promising path for a sustainable future.

Understanding your specific Tesla model, optimizing solar installation, and maximizing battery power can make the dream of running an electric vehicle in pure sunlight a tangible reality for many Canadians.

Practical Considerations for Canadians

Weather and Sunlight Duration

Canada’s varied climate affects how much energy solar panels can produce.

Winters with shorter daylight hours and frequent cloud cover or snow can decrease the energy output.

However, the longer daylight hours during summer can compensate for this.

While there is an initial cost to setting up a solar panel system, Canadian federal and provincial incentives can offset some of these costs.

Over time, charging your Tesla with solar will likely be more cost-effective than relying solely on the grid.

As the popularity of electric vehicles grows in Canada, infrastructure for solar-powered EV charging stations is also expanding, making it even more feasible to charge a Tesla with green energy.


The dream of charging your Tesla using solar power is becoming increasingly viable in Canada. Factors like your Tesla model, their efficiency, the number of solar panels, and local weather conditions will determine the exact charging duration.

While no one-size-fits-all answer, with the right setup and considerations, your Tesla and solar panels can integrate harmoniously, ushering in a greener, more sustainable future.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Fully Charge a Tesla With Solar Panels?

Yes, you can fully charge a Tesla with solar panels. The capability to charge depends on the capacity of the solar panels, the amount of sunlight they receive, and the size of the Tesla battery. A Tesla can be fully charged within a day with a sufficiently large solar array and optimal sunlight conditions.

However, practical considerations like weather variability, PV panel efficiency, and the current state of the battery will influence the actual charging time.

How Long to Charge a Tesla With a 400W Solar Panel?

To determine the time it would take to charge a Tesla with a single 400W solar panel, consider the Tesla model’s battery capacity and the solar panel’s actual energy output.

For this example, let’s consider a Tesla Model 3 with a standard range plus a battery of about 54 kWh.

If the 400W solar panel operates at its maximum capacity for an hour under perfect conditions, it would produce 0.4 kWh. To produce 54 kWh, it would take:


Therefore, only one 400W solar panel would theoretically take 135 hours of optimal sunlight. It fully charges a standard-range Tesla Model 3.

Keep in mind that real-world conditions, like the angle of sunlight, efficiency of the panel, and potential weather interferences, would likely extend this time.

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Donna Vanpelt editor

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