Honda and Acura customers in the U.S. will be offered a different kind of add-on when they buy a car: a home solar power system.
Honda has partnered with SolarCity to establish a $65 million investment fund to help customers cover the initial cost of solar. The deal will be offered to customers within SolarCity's 14-state service area, which includes Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington.
Dealers in SolarCity's service area may be eligible to access the fund to lease or buy systems. Honda and SolarCity said they also plan to investigate ways to integrate solar power and electric vehicle recharging.
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 current utility bill, with insurance, repairs and monitoring services included, the companies said.
Under the deal, customers don't have to put any money down or make a security deposit, according to details provided by the companies. A 3 kilowatt systems starts at $25 to $100 per month with an annual increase of 0 to 2.9 percent each year for 20 years, the companies said.
Solar leasing has spurred quite a debate in SmartPlanet's comments section in the past. Many consumers still take a wary view of leasing.
Typically, a solar company provides the system for free (or little money) in exchange for a long-term contract, or power purchase agreement, in which the customer pays a fixed fee for the electricity generated. The customer benefits by paying less for solar than electricity from the power grid. The solar company, or in this case Honda, earns a small return on each lease.