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EV Charging at solar charge station
  • Jun 13, 2023

  • 7 min read


How to charge my EV with renewable energy

For many drivers, making the switch to electric vehicles and renewable energy starts with embracing greener and more sustainable travel. Electric cars bring loads of eco-friendly benefits, like reduced reliance on fossil fuels and less air and noise pollution, but using renewable energy for electric vehicles as a source of energy is the ultimate goal.

To really realise the environmental benefits, electric vehicles and renewable energy have to go hand in hand. This means making sure the energy you use to charge your car battery comes from clean, renewable sources.

But how exactly do you do that? Home charging, green tariffs, and more efficient driving are all ways to be cleaner, greener, and ultimately make the most of your electric car. Let’s take a closer look.

Renewable energy and electric vehicles - like two peas in a pod

Electric vehicles and renewable energy are two pieces of the same sustainable transport puzzle. Electric cars are the more eco-friendly alternative to traditional vehicles, that’s been proven again and again. But what about charging all these new EVs on the road? As more of us join the electric revolution, our energy system will need to meet new levels of demand for electricity.

Rather than burning fossil fuels, we believe we should meet that demand by increasing our renewable generation. So that electric cars and renewables are working together to really reap the environmental rewards. So what can you practically do to make the most of renewable energy when it comes to charging your EV?

Different ways to charge your EV using renewable energy

When it comes to using renewable energy to charge your electric vehicle, there are lots of options to choose from, including:

  • Generating your own renewable electricity at home using solar, wind, or hydropower
  • Securing a green energy tariff for home or work electric vehicle charging
  • Using smart charging solutions that mean you can charge up when green energy is more available – and cheaper
  • Driving more efficiently so you use less electricity

Which option or combination is best for you will depend on your own circumstances, how you use your car, what access you have to home and public charging, and how viable home generation might be.

Install renewable energy sources at home

One of the best ways to reduce the cost of charging an electric car is to charge at home. But what if you want to make sure your home energy is from renewable sources too? Well, you could generate your own energy.

You can generate your own electricity using domestic solar panels, wind turbines, or hydroelectric systems that rely on water flowing downhill. This, of course, means investing money to buy and install the necessary panels, turbines, or water systems, but it’s a fantastic way of making sure your electric car runs on renewable energy, while relying less on the grid, and saving cash on your energy bills too.

The UK Government offers some financial support that can make home installations more affordable. And, if you make more energy than you need, you could always sell renewable energy back to the grid too.

Get a green energy tariff as soon as possible

If installing your own wind turbines, solar panels or hydroelectric system is beyond your scope, a great alternative is to choose a green energy tariff. 100% of Octopus Energy’s tariffs use green power and ⅓ of the UKs public EV charging networks are powered by green electricity. With green tariffs the amount of power you take from the grid annually is worked out and then replaced with an equal amount of renewable energy. This helps make the energy system greener and greener every year.

Check out our green tariffs and see what’s best for you here.

Intelligent Octopus Go is the next generation for EV charging, with super cheap rates for 6 hours every night. Green energy for both your home and car- guaranteed each night. Intelligent Octopus Go pairs with your compatible EV to charge between 11.30pm - 5.30am via a handy app where you can control when and how much your car charges.

What about public charging stations? Can they use renewables too? Yes, you’ll find a few different charging networks that can boast clean energy generation. Tesla’s global Supercharger network, for instance, is powered by 100% renewables. As well as our very own Electroverse.

The Electroverse network uses one hassle-free app to access over 430,000 public chargers in the UK and Europe. Electroverse indicates which public chargers are supplied by 100% green energy. If you’re an Octopus Energy customer your bills can be linked to the app, but if not just link your debit or credit card. Easy!

The Electroverse app helps you find different charge points, their rates, if they’re available and can even plan your route.

Renewable electric vehicle charging hubs are also starting to appear across the UK. These hubs fully integrate solar panel EV charging with generation and storage, making them a fully self-sustaining, renewable charging solution.

Optimise your journey

It’s always a good idea to plan your long journey in advance so that you know when you’ll need to recharge and can choose the best place to stop. Various apps, like Google Maps and Electroverse, help you source charging stations, including the ones run by renewable networks, along your route.

As well as charging up at renewable charging stations where possible, you can also reduce the amount of electricity you need by driving more smoothly. You’ll maximise your electric vehicle range, and avoid frequent charging, when you:

  • Avoid accelerating or braking aggressively
  • Limit your use of heating and air conditioning systems that drain the battery
  • Plan your route and leave plenty of time to avoid driving at higher speeds for long periods of time

The future of renewable energy and EV charging

With climate change and carbon emissions a growing concern, the adoption of sustainable transport has never been more important. As more and more electric vehicles are on our roads over the next few years, we’ll need to meet increasing demands on the electricity grid. If we meet those energy demands  with polluting fossil fuels, we won’t make the most of our move to electric transport.

Electric cars give us an amazing opportunity to expand renewable energy generation and we’re seeing lots of promising signs already, such as renewable network operators, solar-powered charging stations, domestic generation, green tariffs, and renewable electric vehicle charging hubs. If we all do our bit and continue to use and invest in renewable energy for electric vehicles, then we'll be a huge step closer to reaping the huge environmental rewards of electric cars.