Driving on sunshine. Driving on sunlight. That’s the dream that has become a reality for millions of people in the past decade. Powering one’s home represents a monumental shift in energy. For most of us, all of our ancestors since the discovery of fire have burned things in order to heat their homes — up through the burning of coal and natural gas at the grid scale. That by itself is an exhilarating shift to make. But then there’s transport.
On the transportation side, we’ve also been burning stuff and burning stuff and burning stuff in order to push large, heavy vehicles (and ourselves) forward. Switching to electric powertrains for that propulsion is its own exciting new development, but if you take it a step forward and collect sunlight for that electricity, then, fundamentally, you are powering your electric car with sunlight, you are driving on sunshine.
Solar power companies have partnered with automakers for years in order to try to lead more people to that transformational technological collaboration (for example, Ford and Sunrun recently partnered to help power F-150 Lightnings with Sunrun solar). Now, Sunrun, the #1 home solar installation company in the United States, is encouraging its customers to drive on sunshine in another way. It has launched its own EV charger. The Level 2 charger can be installed and used at homes, workplaces, or anywhere else someone may want to park and charge for long periods of time.
“The new product complements the company’s suite of home energy management solutions and supports growing demand for electric vehicles nationwide,” Sunrun states. “With the new EV charger, Sunrun is advancing its mission to deliver energy independence, cost savings and energy stability to all Americans by enabling customers to power their vehicles at home with abundant and affordable solar energy.” That sounds great. A marketing department can only love an announcement like this.
Is there anything super special about Sunrun’s EV charging station? No. Level 2 chargers are quite similar across the industry in their capabilities. It’s a smart charger, “allowing customers to configure charger settings and control charging,” but that’s standard capability. The big benefit is that the growing mass market of EV adopters will have an easy one-shop stop for an EV charger and solar roof. That may be a simple thing, but it shouldn’t be underestimated.
“EV sales in the United States more than doubled in 2021, accounting for 5% of all new car sales. This trend creates a significant opportunity for Sunrun to help EV owners charge their vehicles quickly and safely while also providing solutions to manage increasing home energy consumption,” Sunrun writes. “Adding an EV can increase a home’s electricity usage by 50% or more per year, depending on driving and charging behavior. With 80% of EV charging done at home, and utility prices jumping nearly 14% across the nation, Sunrun customers will be able to charge their EVs with clean, solar power while also reaping the benefits of cheaper, more predictable energy rates.”
Sunrun EV charger availability begins in September in certain California, New Jersey, and Vermont markets. The charger will be available nationwide by the end of the year. Naturally, there will be options to bundle the charger with a Sunrun home solar-plus-battery system.