EV Drivers More Likely to Go For Solar Panels Too

electric vehicle owners more likely to own solar panels green plug in vehicle

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by | Jan 16, 2024

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A new study has revealed a connection between electric vehicles and solar panels, with EV owners more likely to add solar panels to their homes.

The behavioral study, conducted by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), surveyed 869 households in the San Francisco Bay Area. Researchers also found a converse connection, with solar panels on a home having an impact on whether homeowners buy an EV. However, that correlation was not as strong, the study found.

Of EV owners, 25% also owned a photovoltaic (PV) system, while only 8% of the non-EV owners owned PVs, the study found. Additionally, the study revealed there are social impacts that may have influenced buyers of EVs and PV systems — “being cognizant of them and being social enough to ask about them.”

In other words, having friends or family members who own either an EV or solar panels can have a significant impact on whether or not others buy them.

Researchers suggested the connection between solar panels and EVs may be because homeowners are looking for ways to offset the cost of electrifying their vehicles. The study was published in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews.

“Both EVs and PVs have a complementary nature, which might play a pivotal role in energy systems resiliency, addressing concerns regarding grid stability and power management strategies,” Shivam Sharda, a computational research scientist in NREL’s Center for Integrated Mobility Sciences and lead study author, said in the study.

The findings in the study suggest that policymakers aiming to accelerate the adoption of EVs and solar power should consider incentives for the two paired together.

“Because EV owners are inclined to use PV anyway, such incentives might provide a push for EV owners to adopt solar technology much earlier than what is currently observed,” NREL said in its study.

The study comes as EV infrastructure is expanding globally and in the United States. Lithium battery operations are also seeing a boom in the United States, with several new investments and manufacturing plants announced over the past few years. Major carmakers are also investing in the transition to EVs, including BMW Group and Volvo.

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