9 p.m., Feb. 22
Homebuilder Makes Solar Systems Standard Equipment
The construction firm KB Home has announced a large-scale expansion on its recently adopted practice of including solar power systems as a standard feature on its new home developments.
Solar systems are standard equipment in 28 new communities built by KB in the Southern California area, up from 10 in March. Two of the developer’s three San Diego area projects — Monterey at Otay Ranch in Chula Vista and Shady Grove in Fallbrook — feature the technology.
“Green” features haven’t been an easy sell, even in California, says Dawn Wotapka in the Wall Street Journal. Instead of focusing on the energy efficiency and environmental friendliness of home features, KB instead has sold the systems on their potential cost savings, claiming Monterey buyers could save 20-40% on their electric bills and as much as 60-80% at Shady Grove.
The pitch works, with sales at the initial 10 developments outpacing others by 30%, though KB hasn’t released specific sales numbers. Nor will they say how much the units cost, though it’s assumed the company secured a substantial discount by buying its SunPower units in bulk.
Starting next year all new developments by KB in Southern California will feature solar panels, and the company has looked into expanding the program to its other regions, though no official announcements have been made about taking the project national.
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