For Maryland Honda and Acura owners, it just got a little easier to go solar - at home, if not yet on the road.
American Honda Motor Co., in a partnership with SolarCity, a California-based residential and commercial installer, is offering customers discounts to put photovoltaic panels on their homes at little or no upfront cost.
The two companies have set up a $65 million fund to finance solar installations on residences and on Honda and Acura dealerships in Maryland and 13 other states where SolarCity now operates.
Honda says the venture fits with the company's pledge to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions 50 percent by 2050 from its factories and the products it sells, including new plug-in hybrids, electric vehicles and cars powered natural gas and fuel cells.
"We thought it was an excellent way to make solar available to more people,'' said Steven Center, vice president of environmental business development for American Honda. SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive lauded Honda's environmental commitment.
SolarCity already offers residential and commercial leasing options to get around the steep upfront cost of installing solar panels. Under the deal just announced, Honda and Acura customers can get a $400 discount, which can be used to pre-pay for their solar electricity or to set a monthly payment SolarCity says will be lower than the cost of the owner's current utility bill.
The companies also pledge to explore ways of providing more solar-powered electric-vehicle recharging stations.
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