• Sarah Lozanova

Getting Started Installing Home EV Charging Stations

Electric vehicles and solar energy are an excellent combination. Thus, many of your solar clients are likely also interested in installing a home electric vehicle charger. After all, zero-emissions vehicles and plug-in hybrid cars are soaring in popularity.

Although most electric models include level I chargers, it can take 24 hours for a full charge. This is because they use a typical wall outlet and 120-volt power. Therefore, many electric vehicle owners install level II chargers at home for shorter charging times and faster charging speeds.

Most level II chargers take 4 – 6 hours to recharge a depleted battery, making it far more convenient. Also, installing an EV charger can also increase the home value and make a house more desirable on the market. As the EV market grows, home level II chargers are becoming more widespread.

This demand is opening up a new service offering for many solar companies that can often install both an electric vehicle charger and a solar power system at the same time. Let’s explore what solar companies need to know to get involved in installing home chargers.

What Clients Need For EV Home Charging Station Installation

Although level I chargers require no modifications and are commonly included with the vehicle, level II chargers require 240 volts. Sometimes, upgrades and notifications need to be performed on the home’s electrical system.

For example, a dedicated circuit is helpful to avoid tripping a breaker. Typically, installing a home EV charger entails using a dedicated 240-volt line to the garage. The National Electrical Code requires the electrical circuit to be rated for 25% greater amperage than the charger’s output.

For homes with level II car chargers, 200-amp service is needed. If the home has a 100-amp electrical panel, the electrician will need a service upgrade to at least 200 amps.

Also, clients need to purchase electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE), also known as a charging dock. Some of the leading manufacturers of EVSE include Siemens, ChargePoint, Bosch, Clipper Creek, Pulsar and Amazon Basics. There is even a SolarEdge inverter that has an EV charger integrated with it. Charger manufacturers offer different warranties, and they typically range between 1 and 3 years.

Deciding What Kind Of Charging Station Is Best

If an EV owner chooses to charge their vehicle with a level I charger, it rarely involves electrical work unless a garage currently doesn’t have power. Typically, homeowners will use electricians to install a level II EV charger because it requires a 240-volt line, similar to what many electric ranges, clothes dryers, or water heaters use. Level III chargers are usually prohibitively expensive for residential application.

There are many models of level II chargers to choose from. Experts typically recommend purchasing an EVSE with at last 30 amps that is connected to a circuit that can handle at least 40 amps. Even though many electric cars today can get by with fewer amps, having a higher-amp charger helps prepare the home for future electric vehicles that might require more amps. Although lower-amp chargers typically cost less, they may also charge more slowly.

It is also important to consider the length of the cord on the charger. Many units come with a 15-foot cord, which might not be sufficient, depending on the location of the charging port on the car.

Some models of chargers also have advanced connectivity capabilities with Wi-Fi that allow homeowners to monitor or control the charging process from a smartphone. Also, smart capabilities might enable EV drivers to charge their vehicles during off-peak times when lower-cost electricity rates are available.

This occurs when electric utilities offer time-of-use rates, which are higher in times of peak energy demand. Often, prices are lowest in the middle of the night, when many EV drivers are recharging their batteries. However, not all utilities offer such a rate structure, and some require customers to opt into this pricing model.

One common hurdle with installing an EV charger is deciding on a location. In some cases, your customers will already have an ideal location in mind. It is helpful to consider where the charge port is located on the vehicle and the parking situation at the household. Also, the cord on some chargers is longer than others, so this is an important consideration when selecting products. Depending on the layout of the property, a longer cord might make it far easier to plug-in. Conducting a feasibility study can determine if the property is well-suited for a charger.

Incentives And Rebates Available

Keep in mind that there could be federal and local incentives that your customers might be able to use to lower the total cost of installing an EV charger. Often, these programs are administered by the state or local utility companies, so they vary widely.

Also, examine the requirements carefully for incentive programs. For example, many are only available to charging stations that are publicly available or are commercial charging stations. Knowing the incentives in your area is helpful in educating potential customers and helping them take advantage of programs if they exist.

Costs To Install

The cost of completing such projects depends on a variety of factors. In some cases, the customer already owns a level II charger and merely wants to hire someone to install it. Also, if the site is prewired to accept 240-volt power, this reduces the charger installation costs. Typically, a permit will be required for installing the EVSE, but these costs vary by locale.

The cost of a level II charger ranges from about $200 – $1,000, depending on the model and abilities. Then, the rate for a licensed electrician varies between $50 – $100 per hour plus additional materials. For example, homeowners might need a charger mounting post to install a charger outdoors. Therefore, an installation can vary in price from several hundred dollars to a couple thousand.

Although the upfront cost may be daunting, EV drivers will save money from not fueling up. In addition, as gasoline prices increase, the savings will be greater over time. Reminding customers of the advantages of long-term cost savings can make the investment look more appealing.

Do I Need Additional Certifications To Install EV Chargers?

A licensed electrician should install vehicle charging equipment and any necessary electrical upgrades. In addition, there are some training programs for electricians to fine-tune their EVSE skills. For example, the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP) offers training and certification programs, and some manufacturers provide training courses specific to their products.

Getting Started

Many EV owners are craving more convenient charging options than ever before. As a result, level II chargers at home are very desirable. For solar professionals, this opens up new service offering options, including installing electric vehicle charging stations. A licensed electrician is needed to install the car charger and is often already on staff at solar companies.

Installing EV chargers is another way to gain solar leads because many Tesla, Leaf and Bolt owners are also interested in using renewable energy. Often, EV drivers make their purchasing decisions based on a desire to join the clean energy movement.

Interested in learning more? GreenLancer EV is an online marketplace to shop EV charging station permit, design, and engineering services with fast turnaround and streamlined communication.