Placing solar panels on the roof of your car is an innovative way to generate green power. You’ll reduce your car’s carbon dioxide emissions and save yourself fuel costs over the year
However, executing this plan might prove more challenging than it seems.
In this article, I explain how placing solar panels on the roof of your car can benefit you and what you need to consider before doing so!
Can I Put Solar Panels on the Roof of My Car?
ar panels on the roof of your car, and doing this is a great idea!
If your car roof can carry the weight and pressure, has space for the panels, and you can install the needed equipment for mounting them, there’s no reason not to do it.
Unlike a solar carport that would charge your vehicle. actually putting solar panels on the roof of your car requires another level of dedication and installation.
Remember to use a specialized mounting kit and have a working system to store the energy generated.
Vehicles That Are Suitable for Solar Panel Installation
Most vehicles have the space and durability to accommodate solar panels. This includes cars, SUVs, RVs, and trucks, or Jeep trucks like the above.
Larger vehicles will have the capacity to generate more power, but your tiny car shouldn’t stop you from trying!
The Pros of Installing Solar Panels on the Roof of Your Car
The idea of installing solar panels on car roofs is pretty new. A fully solar-powered car isn’t practical for most of the world, but partially charged solar cars have some pros.
Support Car Power
Solar energy can add a charge to your car’s batteries. If installed correctly, it can power 30% to 60% of your car’s battery with only six hours of sunlight a day. Additionally you could add new features to your car like a solar powered fan.
There isn’t enough roof space on a car to power all-day drive with solar energy, but over a year, having solar panels installed on your car’s roof can save you fuel. With some installations, you can earn up to 3 miles per day using solar energy.
Lower Carbon Dioxide Emissions
Less fuel use means less carbon dioxide emissions. It may not seem like much, but if each car used solar energy for a few miles per day, it can have a great impact!
The Cons of Installing Solar Panels on the Roof of Your Car
Installing solar panels on the roof of your car is impractical. A few car manufacturers are experimenting with success, but a home installation might not work as well.
Cars don’t have the roof space to install enough solar panels for efficient use. It’s worth trying to add solar panels to the hood or doors of your car, but these might not get as much exposure to sunlight.
Even if energy is generated to power your car for use during the day, you’ll need batteries to store electricity for nighttime driving or when the sun’s not out. Cars don’t have enough storage space for solar batteries, and they’ll also weigh your vehicle down.
Things to Consider Before Mounting Solar Panels to Your Car
Before you even start planning how to mount solar panels to your car, you need to consider a few things about your vehicle.
The shape of your car and roof will determine how many solar panels you can mount to it. A flat roof will allow more mounting options, while an angled or sloped one will limit you. However, either roof will work.
Depending on your car roof, you can use various materials to mount the solar panels to it. Suitable materials for most cars include aluminum alloy, carbon fiber, fiberglass, and steel. Some materials work better than others, so you’ll have to pinpoint what suits your vehicle best. Each material has unique properties determining its weight, strength, anti-corrosion properties, and electrical conductivity.
Your car’s roof strength plays a significant role. If your roof can’t carry the weight of solar panels and resist wind pressure, installing them won’t work.
You should remember that all vehicles are different, and even if solar panel installation on your friend’s car worked, there’s no guarantee that it’d work on yours. The weight your vehicle can carry and how much pressure from outside factors it can withstand play a big role.
Assumptions are a surefire way to damage your vehicle! It’s best to research the weight-bearing capacity of your car online or to contact the manufacturer for these details.
There are also things you need to consider in terms of the solar panels you install. Here’s the most important:
Solar Panel Weight
The solar panels you install will travel with you, so you should select the most lightweight ones you can find. Also, keep your roof’s weight capacity in mind. Always err on the side of caution and mount solar panels that weigh less than what your roof can support.
Solar Panel Size
To ensure you have sufficient roof space to mount your solar panels, measure the dimensions of your car roof. Plan for a few extra inches on all sides, so you don’t have to worry that your panels will stick over your car roof.
Solar Panel Compatibility
Some solar panels aren’t compatible with all mounting kits, so ensure that the ones you choose work with the kit made for your car.
Solar Panel Influence on Aerodynamics
Mounting anything on your car will adversely affect its aerodynamics. Even if you install the panels parallel to the roof, it will seriously impact performance. This will have an impact on fuel consumption as well as handling.
Choose thin-film solar panels if aerodynamics is important to you. These will help lower wind resistance and maintain performance.
There are several mounting options you can choose to install solar panels on the roof of your car. Remember to plan ahead and keep your car’s qualities in mind. Always opt for flat systems instead of tilted ones.
Yes, it’s possible to mount solar panels on the roof of your car, but doing so requires careful planning and lots of experimenting!