Charging a Model 3 Car With Solar Panels vs Grid Electricity in 2024

Charging a Model 3 Car With Solar Panels vs Grid Electricity in 2024

Imagine cruising down the highway in your sleek Tesla Model 3, powered by the sun! It’s not just a futuristic dream anymore, it’s an eco-friendly reality. But how many solar panels to charge a tesla car? Buckle up, because we’re about to take a deep dive into the world of solar-powered Teslas.

Let’s Find Out How Many Solar Panels to Charge a Tesla Car

Understanding Tesla’s Power Consumption

Think of your Tesla’s battery like a hungry monster that needs electricity to gobble up. Each model has a different appetite, measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). For example, a Tesla Model 3 Long Range packs a 75 kWh battery, which means it can travel about 358 miles on a single charge.

How Much Electricity Does a Tesla Model 3 Need to Charge?

How Much Electricity Does a Tesla Model 3 Need to Charge?

Now, let’s figure out how much electricity that monster munches on to recharge. The average American drives around 37 miles per day, which for a Model 3 translates to roughly 12 kWh. Think of it like filling up a 12-gallon gas tank but with electrons instead of petroleum!

How Many Solar Panels to Charge a Tesla Model 3?

Ah, the million-dollar question! Here’s where things get interesting. The number of solar panels you need depends on several factors, like sunshine hours in your area, panel efficiency, and how much you drive. But don’t worry, we’ll give you a ballpark figure.

Sunshine Hours per DayPanel Efficiency (Watts)Panels Needed (400W)Daily Charge (kWh)Cost Estimate ($)
Sunny (6+ hours)4006-812+$2,400-$3,200
Moderate (4-6 hours)4008-108-12$3,200-$4,000
Cloudy (less than 4 hours)40010-124-8$4,000-$4,800
High Efficiency (500+ watts)5005-712+$2,500-$3,500


  • This table is a rough estimate and actual needs may vary based on driving habits, location, and other factors.
  • Panel efficiency affects the number of panels needed. Higher efficiency panels require fewer panels.
  • Cost estimate is for panels only and does not include installation or other system components.
  • Daily charge and cost estimate are based on a Tesla Model 3 Long Range with average daily driving of 37 miles.

Additional Factors to Consider:

  • Battery size of your Tesla model
  • Your desired charging speed
  • Roof size and available space for panels
  • Local solar incentives and rebates

Sunny days, happy charging: In a place like sunny California, you might only need around 6-8 high-efficiency solar panels (around 400 watts each) to generate enough electricity to fully charge your Tesla every day.

Cloudy days, no worries: Even in less sunny regions, you can still power your Tesla with solar. You’ll just need more panels, maybe 10-12, to capture enough sunlight. Remember, every panel counts!

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?

Okay, so you know how many panels you need, but how much will they set you back? The good news is, solar panel costs have been dropping like a rock in recent years. Expect to pay around $3-4 per watt, which means a basic 6-panel system could cost around $2,400-$3,200 before incentives.

Cost per kWh to charge a Tesla Model 3 with solar panels

Let’s break down the cost even further. With your own solar panels, each kWh of electricity you generate costs roughly $0.10-$0.15. That’s significantly cheaper than the average grid electricity rate of $0.13-$0.16 per kWh. So, charging your Tesla with solar panels is like filling up on sunshine at a discount!

How Much Would it Cost to Charge a Tesla 3 with Grid Electricity?

How Much Would it Cost to Charge a Tesla 3 with Grid Electricity?

Charging your Tesla with grid electricity might seem convenient, but it can quickly drain your wallet. Using the national average, that 12 kWh daily charge would cost you around $1.56-$1.92. Over a year, that’s a whopping $576-$700! Talk about highway robbery!

Cost of charging a Tesla 3 on grid vs solar

Remember that 6-panel system we mentioned? It could pay for itself in just 4-5 years thanks to the savings you’ll get from ditching grid electricity. That’s like getting a free Tesla after a few years of sunshine!

Pay Yourself Back by Charging Your Tesla 3 With Solar Panels

Going solar isn’t just about being eco-friendly, it’s about being smart with your money. By generating your own electricity, you’ll:

  • Save money on charging your Tesla: Every watt you generate from the sun is one less watt you have to pay the grid for.
  • Increase your home’s value: Homes with solar panels are generally more attractive to buyers, boosting your property value.
  • Reduce your carbon footprint: Powering your car with sunshine takes a big bite out of your carbon emissions, making you a climate hero!


Powering your Tesla with sunshine is a win-win situation. You save money on fuel, reduce your carbon footprint, and even boost your home’s value.

While the initial investment in solar panels may seem daunting, the long-term savings and environmental benefits make it a worthwhile journey. So, plug into the power of the sun and experience the thrill of driving a solar-powered Tesla.

Also Explore: Cars With Solar Panels: All You Need to Know

FAQs About How Many Solar Panels to Charge a Tesla Car

Do I need batteries to charge my Tesla with solar panels?

Not necessarily! If your solar system is connected to the grid, excess energy during the day can be sent back to the grid and then “pulled back” to charge your Tesla at night. However, batteries can provide extra security and independence, storing solar energy for off-grid use or cloudy days.

Can I charge my Tesla while driving with solar panels?

Unfortunately, no. Current rooftop solar setups can’t generate enough power to directly charge your Tesla while driving. However, the energy you generate during the day can be used to recharge your car at home.

How long does it take to charge a Tesla with solar panels?

Charging time depends on the size of your solar system and the power output of your panels. A typical 6-panel system might take 6-8 hours to fully charge a Model 3, while a larger system could do it in half the time.

Does charging my Tesla with solar panels affect my electricity bill?

It certainly can! The more your solar panels generate, the less electricity you draw from the grid, potentially lowering your monthly bill. In some cases, you might even generate enough to receive credits from your utility company!

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