In 2021, Tesla acquired SolarCity, a solar installation company, reflecting Elon Musk’s vision for reducing the global carbon footprint. Naturally, homeowners and electric car enthusiasts worldwide have pondered whether they can charge their Tesla using solar power and how many panels it would take. 

It takes approximately ten 400W solar panels to charge a Tesla. Depending on the Tesla model and the type of solar connection in your home, it can take as little as 8 hours and as much as several days to fully charge the battery. 

The rest of this article will explore these aspects in detail, including whether you can power your Tesla using solar power, how many solar panels you need to power your Tesla, and how long it will take to charge your vehicle. Read on for more. 

Is It Possible To Charge Your Tesla Using Solar Power?

By acquiring SolarCity, Elon Musk kept true to his vision of providing homeowners with a more sustainable energy source.

On the same breadth, the Tesla CEO has made it clear that he wants to give homeowners an alternative energy source for powering their electric cars. 

It is possible to charge your Tesla using solar energy. In fact, with the increased drive towards renewable sources of energy and reducing the global carbon footprint, it is recommended that you use solar panels to charge your electric car. 

Photo Credits: “Powered by sunshine” by anisoboy is licensed under CC BY 2.0

With solar energy costs dropping significantly with time, Tesla and other companies such as Nissan have been exploring the possibility of harnessing solar power to charge vehicles for years, a vision that has come true. 

All that is needed for this to work are the following: 

  • Installing a solar photovoltaic system that is large enough to power your home and your car. 
  • Use the photovoltaic energy from the solar system to charge your vehicle. 

Since your Tesla can store solar energy, you can quickly charge it using this approach. 

How Many Solar Panels Are Needed To Charge a Tesla? 

It takes approximately ten 400W solar panels to charge your Tesla. This number will depend on the Tesla model you have and the efficiency of the solar panel system.

These factors are elaborated below: 

Tesla Model

Different Tesla models have different power needs. The power demands for your vehicle will depend on several factors, including the car’s top speeds, range, and acceleration.

The table below summarizes the different power demands for different Tesla models. 

Tesla ModelTime from 0-60 mph (0-96.6 km/h)Average power consumptionDaily energy needs (AC power)PV system DC power 
Tesla Model S2s18.1kWh every 62.13 miles (100 km)10.76kWh/day2,870Wp
Tesla Model 33.1s14.9kWh every 62.13 miles (100 km)8.85kWh/day2,360Wp
Tesla Model X2.5s20.8kWh every 62.13miles (100 km)12.36kWh/day3,300Wp
Tesla Model Y3.5s28kkWh every 100 miles (161 km)10.34kWh/day2,760Wp
Tesla CybertruckWe’ll find out soon :-)415kWh every 100 miles (161 km)15.32kWh/day4,090Wp
Summary table of power demand for Tesla Models. The table below shows that different Tesla models will require different needs.

The daily energy needs column highlights the AC power daily requirement your Tesla model will need, as well as the DC power demands for the photovoltaic system. 

To get the number of panels required to charge your car, all you need to do is divide the DC power demands by the wattage per panel.

For instance, assuming that you are each solar panel produces 400W, then the number of solar systems needed for each model would be as follows: 

Tesla ModelPV System DC power/watts per panelNo.of 400W panels
Tesla Model S(2,870Wp/400W)8 panels
Tesla Model 3(2,360Wp/400W)6 panels
Tesla Model S(3,300Wp/400W)9 panels
Tesla Model Y(2,760Wp/400)7 panels
Tesla Cybertruck(4,090Wp/400)11 panels
Table showing the power and solar panel requirements for Tesla models

As evident from the table above, each model will require a different number of panels to keep it charged every day, holding the base wattage per panel at 400W.

The average number of panels is around 10 panels. 

If you’d like to find out How Much Your Electric Bill Goes Up With A Tesla, check out this related article. Find out how to Accurately Calculate How Much a Tesla Increases Your Electric Bill


As an added bonus to this article, I’ve created this easy-to-use charging calculator. Simply input your model, charging wattage, and charging percentage, and you will get the estimated time it will take to charge a Tesla in terms of hours. You can play around with numbers a bit just to see how charging time changes:

Two columns
Tesla Charging Calculator (Time):
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Solar System Panel Efficiency

As previously highlighted, the number of panels needed to charge your car will depend on the watts generated per panel.

For instance, the table above changes significantly when using 250-watt panels because you will use more of them. 

The number of panels will also depend on solar system panel efficiency. This is a measure of the system’s ability to convert sunlight into usable electricity.

Accordingly, two solar panels can have different energy ratings. The more efficient panel generates more electricity than the less efficient one when both are placed under direct sunlight for the same duration. 

The majority of solar panels will fall between 15 and 20 percent in solar panel system efficiency. It is important to note that panels with higher efficiency will tend to be pricier. 

Brand/CompanyEfficiency Rating
Rec Solar21.7%
Panasonic 21.2%
This table shows the efficiency ratings for different solar brands.

How Long Does It Take To Charge Your Vehicle?

It can take as little as 8 hours and several days to fully charge your vehicle. The time it takes depends on the model, sun exposure, energy output, and the type of connection you are using.

As previously discussed, the vehicle model type impacts the daily power requirements for the car. Therefore, holding the type of connection constant, different Tesla models will take different amounts of time to achieve a full charge. 

If you’d like to find out How to Choose an EV Charger for Your Business, check out this related article. We tell you exactly what to consider.

To fully understand the impact of the type of connection, consider two connection types with different voltages.

For instance, while a NEMA 14-30 connection producing 240 volts would charge a Tesla Model 3 in about 16 hours, the more standard NEMA 5-15 outlet connection producing 120 volts would take up to 5 days. 

The sun exposure and energy output affect how much solar energy your system is producing, which in turn influences the amount of time it takes to charge your vehicle. 

This video provides helpful information for more on charging your Tesla Model using solar power:

Can You Use Portable Solar Panels?

You can use portable solar panels of any size, although they are not a practical solution. This is because you would need a large number of portable solar panels to meet your car’s energy needs, even with full exposure to sunlight. 

Portable solar panels sound like a nifty solution to charge your car on the go, right? After all, it is possible to connect multiple portable solar panels together to form what is known as a solar array.

However, even with over seven hours of exposure to sunlight during the day, you would need to connect a ridiculous number of panels. 

Additionally, portable solar panels would not be practical even if you could connect enough panels to power your Tesla.

This is because they would pose a significant challenge of portability because the solar array will simply not fit on the roof of your car. 

Check out these 20 great gift ideas for yourself or a Tesla fanboy.

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Erwin Meyer
Erwin Meyer

A renowned Tesla enthusiast, and successful entrepreneur, enlightens global audiences through his compelling EV narratives. Discover more about his electric journey on his About Me page. Venture to read Erwin's incredible story that's reshaping the future of motoring. Want to spark a conversation with Erwin? Visit his Contact page, and let’s electrify the world together.