Ford, SunPower partner on rooftop solar for EV owners

Riding on Ford's coattails, SunPower said it will offer Focus Electric customers rooftop solar systems sized specifically to offset the electrical draw of the vehicle.

In an attempt to further reduce the price of owning an electric vehicle, American automaker Ford and solar systems provider SunPower said on Wednesday that they would partner to offer customers of Ford's Focus Electric car a rooftop solar system intended to offset the electricity required by the vehicle to run.

Under the "Drive Green for Life" moniker, the companies are trying to push the sustainability side of an EV -- and perhaps calm fears that EV ownership will send electricity bills through the roof. (Even as the gasoline bill disappears.)

It's also a way for SunPower to directly target customers who are most likely to be receptive to installing solar panels on their home's roof.

The product in question is a 2.5-kilowatt rooftop solar system made of SunPower's E18 Series solar panels. SunPower says they produce an average of 3,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year, enough to handle about 12,000 miles of driving a year, the national average. The system includes a digital monitoring system.

The price tag? A cool $10,000 after federal tax credits (but before state and local rebates). But that's the price to play in residential solar, and if you're a brand-new EV owner who just spent some $30,000 on a new car, perhaps you're interested in closing the loop.

SunPower says it will get in ouch with interested Focus Electric customers and make a house call to begin the process. It says its system will also be compatible with the C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid electric vehicle Ford plans to roll out in 2012.

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