Main Panel Upgrades (MPN)
Main panel upgrades are common in California because older homes were not built with electric vehicle charging, solar, or large appliances in mind. Learn about Main Panel Upgrades and why your home may need an electrical panel upgrade to install an electric vehicle charging station.
Reasons to Upgrade Your Panel
No Space on Your Electrical Panel
Electrical panels have limited space. In rare circumstances, circuit breakers can be combined to make space, but for most customers, main panel upgrades are required because that the panel cannot support an additional circuit.
Level 2 charging equipment routinely require 240-V, which means that you need two spaces (each space is 120-V) on your electrical panel. If you do not have two spaces available on your panel, your installation specialist may require upgrading your electrical panel prior to installing a EV charger.
100-amp Service is Usually Too Low
Level 2 Residential Charging Stations are different from most appliances at your home. Every charger carries a constant load on the circuit - unlike your dryer, which uses a varied amount of electricity, your car draws 15 - 50 amps for hours at a time. Additionally, most Level 2 chargers is compatible with up to 50 amp circuit breakers.
For most 100-amp electrical panels, a 50 amp circuit is...well, 50% of its capacity. Factor in A/C, washer/dryer, general circuits, etc., a 100-amp panel is considered on the low-end for EV charging. Our specialists generally recommend either upgrading the electrical panel, or installing a 20 amp charger.
Modernize Your Electrical Setup
Main panel upgrades are an important part of modernizing the home for the electric and solar future. As you add and upgrade your home appliances or explore solar energy, most older homes will require panel upgrades. Upgrading your electrical panel is a way to future-proof for all that technology and renewable energy has to offer.
How much does it cost?
A Main Panel Upgrade need to be done by licensed electricians and requires permitting by city governments. It is a more involved project, and depending on the scope of the project (e.g. whether a panel needs to be moved), costs vary between $2,000 - $4,000. To review your options in detail, schedule a free consultation with a Green Zuru Installation Specialist.
How long does it take?
Depending on the scope of the project, it may take anywhere from a day to a week. Permitting is required prior to start of panel upgrade, and the electrical code determines whether your electrical panel needs to be moved. We recommend all customers to schedule an onsite assessment with our Green Zuru specialists to determine the specifics.
Do I have alternatives?
For 100-amp service panels with space to accommodate level 2 charging, a 20-amp charger is a viable alternative. With a 20-amp charger, an electric vehicle can charge up to 15 mph. Otherwise, if there is no space available, you may determine if you can "sacrifice" existing electrical outlets to squeeze in a 20-amp. A main panel upgrade is usually recommended.