Solar energy to help charge electric vehicles

ClipperCreek Inc., the Auburn-based producer of charging stations for plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles, has partnered with a San Mateo company to distribute solar-powered chargers compatible with all new electric vehicles. SolarCity said it will install ClipperCreek chargers through its 24 operations centers nationwide.

"Tens of thousands of electric cars will be delivered over the next year alone, with hundreds of thousands expected over the next five years," said Lyndon Rive, CEO of SolarCity. Home or business installation of a ClipperCreek 240-volt charger starts at $1,500. Officials said powering an electric car with electricity generated from a home solar system is up to 77 percent less expensive than fueling a car with gas.

ClipperCreek already makes chargers for use with special electric vehicles, including the Chevrolet Volt, Nissan Leaf and Tesla Roadster.