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Ford and SunPower to offer home rooftop solar system to offset charging of Focus Electric

Ford and SunPower Corp. are partnering to offer Focus Electric customers a rooftop solar system that will generate enough renewable energy during the day to offset the electricity used to charge the vehicle at night.

The 2.5 kilowatt rooftop solar system comprises SunPower E18 Series solar panels that produce an average of 3,000 kWh of electricity annually. These high-efficiency solar panels generate approximately 50% more electricity than conventional panels and utilize a smaller footprint on the roof. The system was sized to accommodate a customer who drives about 1,000 miles per month.

The complete SunPower solar system is offered at a base price of less than $10,000, after federal tax credits. Local and state rebates, along with other incentives, may drive the system cost down even more, depending on a customer’s location. Included in the purchase is a residential monitoring system, which includes the ability to track the performance of their solar system on the web or through an iPhone application. Affordable financing options for the solar system are available through SunPower. This price point does not include local sales tax.

Interested Focus Electric customers will be contacted by a participating SunPower dealer who will visit their home to begin the installation process.

Ford is also introducing the C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid electric vehicle in 2012.

In January, Ford announced an agreement with consumer electronics leader Best Buy to offer a 240-volt home charging station for the Focus Electric and future electric vehicle owners.



Eventually, EVs could come with optional on-board, 8 M2, slide out or fold out, roof top ultra light high performance solar panels, to supply 10+ Kwh/sunny day to keep the on-board batteries charged without having to stop at charge points or to plug it in at night. The exception may be for longer trips on roads not equipped with wireless charging system.


This is a good development - especially in States that provide tax credit for PV installations.


You don't need no stinking EV to gain from roof PV power when PV power is affordable (which IS closer every day).

And you don't need no stinking PV system to gain from an EV when THEY are affordable.

They combine them to appeal to the "not so bright" - obviously.

Thomas Lankester

I am always suspicious of disparaging posts that use the word 'obviously' in place of a reasoned argument.

In this particular, case the 'obvious' reasons for offering (its not compulsory!) a PV/EV bundle are:
a) to reduced the capital cost of making the purchases independently
b) to address the tedious accusation that and EV without renewables is as dirty as a dino-fueled car.
If the deal encourages people to purchase a PV system that they would not have purchased otherwise - is this not good?

But let's scrape under the veneer of 'obviousness'.

The bane of grid connected PV systems is that at peak production most of the electricity gets exported. Now, I get paid 3p/kWh for my exported electricity but have to pay 13.5p/kWh for importing electricity. To get best use of my PV I need to utilise the electricity in-house and avoid exporting it. With an EV, I can charge it up at the weekend and do my commuter run (~60 miles) during the week, saving ~10p for every kWh of charge gleaned from the PV.
Ker-ching! (and a 'self powered' EV provides one with a great sense of satisfaction - if one is not of a snide, cynical disposition that is).

PS use of the double negative, as in "don't need no" results in a positive (in English the second negative negates the first negative). As you say, 'not so bright'...


These high-efficiency solar panels generate approximately 50% more electricity than conventional panels,

I'm afraid that is not true. E18 panels are ~18% efficient. Bog standard monocrystalline silicon pv panels are ~15%. So they deliver 20% more energy not 50%. They probably used the ~12% efficient First Solar CdTe thin film panels as a benchmark.

These lower efficiency panels are however much cheaper per watt than SunPowers. I didn't see any financial details, but something tells me that the EV buyer with enough rooftop area is better off buying Suntech, Yingli or First Solar.

Imo the only reason for buying SunPower (apart from it being a US company, some people might prefer buying homebrew stuff) is when you have limited space available on your roof.

Otherwise I think it is a very goot initiative. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Instead of just a 'good intention' that is so easily forgotten, many people might be seduced to install a PV system that otherwise might have never been purchased.

It is also very good marketing. The neighbours see the arrival of the EV in the street and at the same time a PV system to offset its electricity use. Indeed as Thomas says to kill off any naysayer argument about these "coal powered EV's"


I read on the local paper this morning that the main reasons for the current deep crisis in USA is:

1. lack of initiative,
2. lower creativity,
3. unwilling to take risk,
4. resistance to change (conservatism)
5. increased reliance on speculators and embezzlers.

Those represent major negative changes over 50 years ago.


Anne - The reasoning more than likely is that Ford worked out the best deal it could with SunPower rather than the other companies you mentioned. Frankly, I'm surprised they didn't get a deal with First Solar since they're the big boys on the block.

Still, it seems a nice deal. I wonder what they would charge if you could get a 5kW system together and go off grid?


One should strive to do what's right instead of fleeing before "tedious accusations".
Purchasing a PV system that simply bestows "a great sense of satisfaction" is great but not necessarily a good idea for others.

The bane of grid connected PV systems is that at peak production most of the electricity gets exported (except maybe in very hot climes). With this system you get paid for your exported electricity during the day but then have to pay for importing electricity at night to charge your EV.

I am proud to be cynical of all the modern flower children that believe:

That Detroit has NOT made the cars people want, since 1950, ewven though trucks and SUVs still have almost half the market.

That GM killed the EV by not producing an EV1 when actually the entire world “did not make an EV1”.

That Detroit must have brainwashed people, because the people did not/do not believe as they.

That PVs on the roof will charge their EVs when it's parked overnight.

That EVs and PVs not only save money now and are affordable now (it’s getting close, at least with rebates) but have been since 2000.
That people will buy some weird car that, instead of burning 500 g of gas a year, or 100, burns only 50, but is good only to go the corner store (and not buy anything big.)

Oh, and in English 101 we learned that double negatives make a positive.
In advanced English you might learn idioms and popular quotations.

HarveyD, we call that section, the Comics not “the paper”.


TT....the free lance writer was from a well respected major USA City newspaper. I don't specially agree with him on all points. However, USA is progressively pushing itself out of the competing world markets for many well known reasons that almost none of us want to hear. The Big-3 have learnt and are progressively moving to China, India, Brazil etc.

Apple, one of the better known American Brand name, is contracting the majority of their leading products to large Chinese plants. Most Americans still believe that they are made in USA. The list is a mile long.


Yah, alright.
But it is just nebulous BS.
He said;

"main reasons for the current deep crisis in USA is:
1. lack of initiative, [?? What? Not spending like Obama wants?]
2. lower creativity, [??]
3. unwilling to take risk, [??]
4. resistance to change (conservatism) [1, 2, 3 & 4 look the same - and have no justification]

5. increased reliance on speculators and embezzlers. [What's this mean? Maybe the gov has no energy policy so we depend on speculators ? Maybe. But who relys on embezzlers? For what?]

Henry Gibson

Take a look at the car that is powered by PV.


At 20% solar efficiency you get 200 watt-hours maximimum per hour out of a one square meter solar panel. This is enough to go one mile in a prius+.

If Ford wanted to do their customers a service, they would use the Artemis hydraulic hybrid technology obtainable from BOSCH REXROTH after beibg invented by Artemis.

This is just an expensive gimmick paid for by the taxpayers and the car buyers.

Not only should the use of solar water heating be mandated in places where there is no natural gas supplies like Hawaii but also where there is natural gas but where it is better used for combined electric-cooling-and heating and solar heat is abundant like Las Vegas.

Over powered automobiles and engines are what most people want. The Prius itself is an example.

Requiring Artemis hydraulic hybrid technology to be used in all SUVs and pickup trucks sold in the US would save that country many more grams of CO2 release than all the solar electric panels ever produced.

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