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Buy An Electric Vehicle, Get Cheap Solar Power (Honda & SolarCity Team Up)

Now that the dust has settled on the Tesla vs. New York Times battlefield, weren’t we just saying that electric vehicles are selling quite well? That’s partly because car manufacturers are pulling out all the stops to get a foothold in the EV market before the competition really heats up. In the latest maneuver, Honda has teamed with solar energy leader SolarCity to offer cheap solar power to eligible customers. They promise a utility bill for solar power that is less than the rate for grid-supplied energy, and that applies to Acura customers, too.
Honda offers free solar panels to eligible customersCheap Solar Power Less than Grid, Seriously?

If this sounds too good to be true, it gets better. The deal includes a rooftop solar panel installation, covering all costs in addition to the panels themselves. That’s important because the “soft costs” of solar power account for at least half the cost of a typical solar installation.

There is nothing particularly unusual about the new Honda/SolarCity arrangement, by the way. It’s basically a power purchase agreement (PPA), which is becoming a common way to finance solar installations.

PPA’s are designed to overcome one huge obstacle, and that is the up-front cost of installing solar panels. In a typical PPA, the property owner pays little or nothing up front for the solar installation. They pay only for the electricity it generates, at an agreed-upon rate for a set period of time. Typically, the solar installer continues to own, operate and maintain the system for that period.

To be clear, the hardware and soft costs are absorbed by the installer, but paying for the power generated by the installation is still the property owner’s responsibility (in other words, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but there are such things as more sustainable lunches).

As with typical PPA’s, the Honda/SolarCity offer includes insurance as well as maintenance, repair and monitoring during the agreed-upon period.

More cleantechnica.com

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