SolarCity joins Honda for US drive

SolarCity has forged an “unprecedented” partnership with the American Honda Motor Corporation (AHMC), exposing millions of customers in Honda and Acura dealerships across the US to its solar-leasing offerings.

As part of the deal, the two companies will establish a $65m fund to assist both Honda customers and the owners of Honda and Acura car dealerships in shouldering the upfront cost of PV systems. 

In addition, they will “explore” opportunities to begin integrating SolarCity installations with electric-vehicle recharging systems tailored for Honda’s Fit EV – which squeezes 100 miles (160km) out of 29kWh of electricity – and plug-in hybrid versions of its Accura model.

“We believe Honda and Acura customers are going to be very interested in going solar once they find out that they can install solar at their home with little or no upfront cost,” says Steven Center, vice president of AHMC’s environmental business development office.

Although SolarCity continues to lead the US solar-leasing game, putting up 156MW in 2012, it faces fierce competition from a range of players who are finding increasingly creative ways of reaching out to new customers.

SunPower recently announced a financing deal with US Bancorp to further expand its downstream business, while rival Sungevity recently pinned down $85m in new project finance.

Yet SolarCity continues to charm investors, having launched its initial public offering at $8.00 per share in December. Shares rose more than 4% on 19 December to $18.51.