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Buy a car, get rooftop solar: Honda and SolarCity join forces

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Japanese car maker Honda has joined forces with SolarCity – the California-based solar power provider led by billionaire cleantech champion Elon Musk – to finance $65 million worth of rooftop projects for car buyers and dealers.

The deal will see Honda or Acura buyers who live in SolarCity’s 14-state coverage area, a $400 discount toward a residential solar PV system, according to Steven Center, a vice president at Honda’s US branch. The partnership also will install PV systems on as many as 20 dealerships.

“We’re trying to create the liquidity that will build the solar market,” Center said in an interview with Bloomberg. “We’ll probably run the course of the program this year.”

Under the program, customers will be given a choice to pre-pay for their solar electricity or make a monthly payment that will be lower than the cost of their electricity bill, with insurance, repairs and monitoring services included.

Centre said as many as 3,000 customers would qualify for the discount, while dealers in SolarCity’s service area – which includes Arizona, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington – may be eligible to access the fund to lease or buy systems.

The two companies also said they planned to look into ways to integrate solar power and electric vehicle recharging – something Ford did back in 2011, when it joined with SunPower to offer solar systems to Focus Electric drivers.

SolarCity said in January that it expects installations of rooftop solar systems to climb to 250MW in 2013, up from 156MW in 2012.

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