Think of them as hippies in yuppie clothing.

That's the idea behind the deal BMW and solar-panel system installer Real Goods Solar is offering drivers of the German automaker's battery-electric ActiveE vehicles.

BMW is working with the Louisville, CO-based solar-panel system installer to give lessees of BMW's battery-electric ActiveEs a break on solar-power systems that may be used to power up their cars.

Real Goods Solar, which has installed more than 13,000 solar-energy systems since 1978, and BMW say customers may be able to save as much as 35 percent on solar-panel installation costs under the new agreement. ActiveE drivers in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York are eligible.

Interested parties can go to the Real Goods Solar web page here to enter their residential information and find out if they qualify and how much they'll save. For instance, a Los Angeles resident who gets power from the L.A. Department of Water and Power would require a start-up investment of about $7,500 but will save more than $81,000 in "avoided" gas and utility expenses over a 20-year period. This sort of math is exactly the kind of thing the ActiveE driver Peder Norby just wrote about – he swears he didn't know the BMW/Real Goods Solar announcement in advance. It was just good timing.

In January, the German automaker started leasing out the ActiveE to customers in markets such as Los Angeles, New York and Boston for $499 a month with a $2,250 downpayment. BMW will start making its i3, the successor to the ActiveE, in 2014.
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BMW of North America Partners with Real Goods Solar
07.05.2012
BMW ActiveE drivers can reduce their dependence on fossil fuels even more
Woodcliff Lake, NJ – May 7, 2012... Just in time for EVS 26, the largest electric vehicle symposium in the US, BMW of North America today announced that it is partnering with Real Goods Solar (Nasdaq: RSOL) to offer BMW ActiveE drivers the potential to get all the energy to charge their EV at home from sustainable solar energy. Real Goods Solar will install solar panels on the homes of ActiveE drivers, known as Electronauts, at a substantial savings of approximately 35 percent. This represents another example of the commitment by the BMW Group to a holistic approach to sustainability that goes well beyond the automobile itself.
The Real Goods Solar – ActiveE residential system is offered exclusively to Electronauts. Lease and purchase options will be available to suit the residential energy and charging needs for BMW's EV drivers. Real Goods Solar will provide a premium offer to design, install and monitor a turn-key solar solution to all ActiveE customers in California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York.
"Our relationship with Real Goods Solar is an ideal complement to the BMW ActiveE experience. It expands on the BMW Group's vision for sustainable, premium mobility solutions." said Rich Steinberg, Manager of Electric Vehicles of BMW of North America. "We encourage all of our ActiveE customers to take full advantage of this outstanding program which will enable them to maximize their ultimate EV driving experience while minimizing their overall energy and driving costs."
Real Goods Solar makes the transition to solar power easy. For ActiveE households, they will handle both the permitting and incentive application processes. They will also provide a production guarantee and full system maintenance.
"Solar power is a natural fit for electric vehicle owners looking for a more sustainable lifestyle," explained Real Goods Solar CEO, Bill Yearsley, "We are delighted to partner with BMW of North America to deliver Real Goods' award-winning design and installation services to help ActiveE drivers harness the power of the sun to fuel their new sports car."
Real Goods Power Savings Plans reduce initial investment costs to a minimum and include premium industry products, including modules manufactured in America, and a proprietary online monitoring system, which includes the ability to track the performance of their solar system on the web or through an iPhone application.
In order to take advantage of this exclusive offer, Electronauts should call (855) RGS-EVPV or visit www.realgoodssolar.com/ActiveE to schedule their solar evaluation.

BMW ActiveE and project i - research and development of tomorrow's mobility.
The BMW ActiveE is the BMW Group's next step towards an emission-free, mass-produced electric vehicle. Within the framework of project i, the BMW Group is carrying out research and development work on the development of electrically powered vehicles. The next step will be the BMW i3 due to launch in 2013. It will be designed to meet the demands of a sustainable mobility solution for congested urban areas. For this reason, the drive components and battery technology that will be used in the BMW i3 are being tested now in the BMW ActiveE.
The recent field test involving more than 600 MINI E cars, including 450 in the US, have provided vital knowledge about the demands on future electrically powered production vehicles. Beginning this year a test fleet of over 1100 BMW ActiveE vehicles on the road in the US, Europe and China will provide further valuable insights into the everyday use of the vehicle. Soon 700 BMW ActiveEs will on the road in the US, mostly in private hands. The findings from this trial will serve to deepen the knowledge already gained on the everyday use of electric vehicles and to learn more about customer requirements. The feedback from customers testing the MINI E and the BMW ActiveE will be fed directly into series production of the BMW i3, which will be launched in 2013.
The BMW ActiveE will be featured at EVS 26, www.EVS26.org, the largest electric vehicle symposium in the US. It will be used to demonstrate the Combined Charging System which will enable both AC charging and DC fast-charging from a single charging port.

About Real Goods Solar
Real Goods Solar is a leading solar energy integrator, having installed over 13,000 solar electric systems. We offer turnkey solutions, and have 34 years of experience in solar energy, beginning with the sale of the first solar photovoltaic panels in the U.S. in 1978. With offices in California, Colorado and the Northeast, Real Goods Solar is one of the largest residential solar installers in the country. For more information, visit www.RealGoodsSolar.com or call 1-888-56-SOLAR.