Ford EVs to come with household solar-panel option

Ford teams with SunPower to offer customers a $10,000 home rooftop solar-panel installation which will generate about as much electricity as an electric car will consume in a year.

Ford and solar-panel maker SunPower have created a solar-powered electric-car package.

Buyers of Ford's electric vehicles will have an option to have SunPower's rooftop solar panels installed for about $10,000 after a federal tax rebate. The companies estimate that the 2.5-kilowatt array will generate enough juice, about 3,000 kilowatt-hours a year, to fuel a car for about 1,000 miles a month of driving.

A SunPower solar panel array. Charging an electric car for a year will take 11 of SunPower's efficient panels. SunPower

The "Drive Green for Life" program means drivers can cut the cord on fossil fuels by generating power during the day and charging at night, according to the companies.

Ford plans to release an all-electric Ford Focus and its C-Max Energy plug-in hybrid in 19 states next year and in Europe in 2013.

SunPower makes high-end solar panels, which means a 2.5-kilowatt array will require 11 of its residential panels, which will take less space than less-efficient panels. Like other panels, they have 25-year warranties. SunPower said that state-specific incentives and rebates could lower the installation cost below $10,000.

The panels will be installed by SunPower's installer network and financing to offset the upfront cost is available. Customers can also monitor the solar panels' output over the Web application or an iPhone app.

In practice, grid-tied solar panels offset an entire home's electricity consumption, rather than only the power from an electric car charger. But coupling rooftop solar panels with an electric car will make for a low-polluting car and lower monthly electricity bills.

Ford's competitor General Motors last month announced a program to install large solar arrays at some offices and dealerships, including solar canopies with Chevy Volts underneath .

Related stories
• Econ 101: Solar panels increase home values
• GM buys into solar EV charging through Sunlogics
• Chasing home efficiency, nudged by the sun
• From SmartPlanet: SunPower gets creative with Ford to bolster plunging profit margins

 

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