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Electric Car Owners May Not Love Solar Panels So Much After All

By Nic Querolo


The overlap between consumers who buy electric vehicles and those who want solar panels on their roofs may not be so broad after all.

While conventional wisdom has long held that EV drivers prefer to charge cars with clean energy, surveys that fed that belief targeted early adopters of the technologies who don’t necessarily represent the broadening demographic of today’s buyers, according to a report Tuesday from BloombergNEF.

“There’s no clear evidence yet that EV drivers are buying solar,” Hugh Bromley, an author of the report, said in an interview. “It’s such an intuitive coupling of technologies, solar and EV, that I think this will surprise anyone, and certainly visionaries like Elon Musk who have had this play for over 10 years now to couple the sectors.”

Musk touted the overlap between solar panels and electric vehicles when Tesla Inc. bought rooftop installer SolarCity Corp. in 2016 for $2.6 billion. The solar business, however, has struggled since.

Tesla wasn’t alone in pursuing symbiosis between panels and EVs. In 2011, Ford Motor Co. began collaborating with SunPower Corp. in 2011 to offer discounted rooftop system to EV drivers. BMW AG works with Solarwatt GmbH, and Nissan has a residential solar program, according to BNEF.

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