Ford selects Sunrun as installation partner to make new F-150 Lightning backup power source

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Ford’s electric F-150 Lightning truck was unveiled on 19 May. Image: Ford.

Leading US residential solar and storage provider Sunrun has partnered with automaker Ford as the installer of home charging systems for its F-150 Lightning truck.

As part of the deal, Sunrun will facilitate the installation of Ford’s charging stations and energy integration system for residential customers. The F-150 Lightning, an electric version of the company’s pick up truck, can serve as a backup residential power source, supplying low-carbon electricity to homes during power outages.

Using a service called Ford Intelligent Backup Power, Ford said in a statement that the electric vehicle (EV) has an offloading capacity of 9kW, and based on an average daily power demand of 30kWh, can provide full power to a home for around three days. When the power outage ceases, the EV returns to charging from its battery, Ford said.

The partnership also includes an offer for customers to install a residential solar and battery system that can charge the EV in-turn. Ryan O’Gorman, electric vehicle manager of strategic partnerships at Ford, said the car company is the first in the US to offer this additional power supply through an EV.

Ford officially unveiled the new vehicle to the public on Wednesday (19 May), and has since taken 20,000 reservations for it within 12 hours of its release. The automotive firm said the US$40,000 F-150 Lightning will be manufactured at its facility in Dearborn, Michigan and shipping will commence from mid-2022. Sunrun will provide installation services for both its home solar energy and battery storage systems and the 80-amp Ford Charge Station Pro.

Chief executive Jim Farley called the launch a “massive moment” for the company. Ford plans to later launch an additional service, Ford Intelligent Power, enabling the EV to supply electricity to homes during peak hours.

Interest in home power generation and battery storage has increased in recent months after a once in a generation winter storm in Texas, and subsequent drop in power supplies, forced local grid operator ERCOT to shut off large swathes of its network.

Sunrun’s chief executive and founder, Lynn Jurich, said in a separate statement that both companies are “at the beginning stages of a partnership that can bring energy resilience to millions of Americans across the country.”

“Ford is a trusted brand that’s been at the forefront of American innovation for over 100 years, and it is exciting to see them electrifying their most popular truck in company history,” Jurich said.

The partnership’s announcement comes weeks after Sunrun raised its 2021 fiscal guidance after installing 167.6MW of rooftop solar in the three-month period ended 31 March 2021. The company now expects its growth rate to stand between 25 – 30%, an increase on the prior 2021 growth guidance of between 20 – 25%.

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