SolarCity to offer solar-powered EV chargers

Targeting drivers of electric vehicles, the company will install ClipperCreek Level II chargers with solar option starting at $1,500.

Candace Lombardi
In a software-driven world, it's easy to forget about the nuts and bolts. Whether it's cars, robots, personal gadgetry or industrial machines, Candace Lombardi examines the moving parts that keep our world rotating. A journalist who divides her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, Lombardi has written about technology for the sites of The New York Times, CNET, USA Today, MSN, ZDNet, Silicon.com, and GameSpot. She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.
Candace Lombardi
2 min read
ClipperCreek's LCS-25 Level 2 Charging Station ClipperCreek/Anthony Peterson

SolarCity said today that it will begin to offer installation services for solar-powered EV chargers compatible with any electric vehicle currently on the market.

To do so, the company is partnering with EV charger manufacturer ClipperCreek, which will supply chargers that use the standard SAE-J1772 charge cable.

Installation of a 240-volt Level II charger, which typically charges an EV battery to full capacity in about four hours, for a home or business will start at $1,500 including the price of the charger, according to SolarCity.

SolarCity said the offer is not just an add-on for customers who have the company install solar panel systems, but that it's also willing to install a standalone EV charger.

Many consumers and green tech critics have pointed out that electric vehicles, often touted as being eco-friendly, are only as clean as their source of electricity, which in the U.S. can often be coal-fired power plants. A solar-powered EV charger would certainly offer a renewable energy option for EV drivers looking for clean electricity, as well as cutting down on fuel costs.

An EV driver in San Francisco pays $107 per month on average to charge from the grid. For the same amount of miles someone using a solar EV charger and leasing a solar system from Solar City, would pay on average $54 to charge their car, according to Solar City.

SolarCity, of course, is not the first to come up with the idea of powering EVs with solar energy. Nissan has introduced solar EV chargers with back-up batteries so that they can still work at night.

In June legendary Italian designer Pininfarina revealed the Antares, a solar charging station designed to look like a tree that draws on energy generated from a canopy of solar panels capable of powering two EVs at its trunk. The city of Chicago has also installed several solar "trees"made by Chicago-based manufacturer Carbon Day Automotive.