Homeowner Blog

Solar Car Chargers: The Best EV Chargepoint for PV

George Riley · 17 Aug 2021

With petrol prices at an eight-year high and new fossil fuel powered vehicles due to be banned by 2030, the age of electric cars will soon be upon us. For those of us lucky enough to have a driveway, we can charge up our electric cars at home, making the most of time of use tariffs to slash costs further. But what’s even better than cheap charging? Free charging from the sun!

Solar panels make a great companion to an EV, allowing you to use the car’s substantial battery to absorb excess solar power so you can drive on sunshine. But what are the best solar car chargers to make for an easy peasy EV-PV experience?

Why solar car charging?

The main benefits of topping up your EV from solar panels are:

  • Free charging. Solar energy is effectively free at the point of generation so it makes sense to utilise it, compared to the average grid cost of 17p/kWh (cheaper overnight on an EV tariff or much more expensive out on the road).
  • Maximising on site usage. It makes financial sense to use your solar power, rather than export it to the grid. The average export rate is about 5.5p/kWh, which is usually lower than what you pay to charge your car from the grid.
  • Offset rising demand. Once you get an EV, your electricity demand at home will increase - it could even double. Supplying some of that from your own solar system will help reduce the extra strain on the grid, and your energy bills.

Solar chargepoint comparison

Here’s an overview of the most popular solar car chargers:

 

zappi

Andersen

EO Mini Pro

Design

zappi v2 Andersen A2 EO Mini Pro (silver) - no shadow

Rated power

7kW (single phase) / 22kW (three phase)

3-7kW (single phase) / 22kW (three phase)

Up to 7.2kW

Socket/tethered

Type 2 socket / Type 2 tethered

Type 2 tethered

Type 2 socket / Type 1 or 2 tethered

Dimensions

439 x 282 x 122 mm

494 x 348 x 148 mm

157 x 125 x 125 mm

Colour

Black / white

Many colours in wood or metal finish

Black / white / blue / silver

Cost (approx.)

£995

£1,600

£995

Solar integration

Solar diversion options as standard

Solar diversion optional extra

Solar matching optional extra

Main selling point

Solar charging

Stylish design

Discreet size

In depth: the zappi

Our go-to recommendation for most solar + EV charging installs is the zappi from myenergi. That’s because it’s designed at heart to optimise solar charging, whereas for other products it’s an add-on.

The zappi is affordable (and eligible for the OZEV grant), comes in just enough options to suit the user, and offers three PV charging modes:

  • ECO - charging at a minimum 1.4kW rate, fluctuating above this as excess solar generation allows.
  • ECO+ - as above, but pausing the charge if the proportion of power drawn from solar falls below a user-set level.
  • FAST - charging at the maximum possible rate, like a regular chargepoint.

There are also various boost functions to ensure your car reaches a minimum level of charge.

The zappi has inbuilt RCD protection and load management, which is not present in many other chargers. Inbuilt RCD means no earth rod is needed, while load management is crucial if you have multiple EVs or high electricity demand and want to avoid overloading your supply. It also means we can install the chargepoint (in SSE's area) without needing to wait for prior DNO permission.

Additionally, the zappi integrates well with myenergi’s immersion optimiser, the eddi.

Learn more

Please note that we only install EV chargepoints alongside new solar PV systems.

If you’d like to learn more about electric car charging from solar or the grid, download our free guide:

Download now

Topics: EV charging, zappi, Solar PV

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