Earlier this year, KB Homes announced that it would include solar on new homes in 10 southern California communities as a standard feature, well it’s expanded that number to 13 communities already. This week, the construction firm announced that the homes constructed in its newly purchased Arrayo community in Lancaster will include solar as a standard feature.
The homes will come with a 1.35-kilowatt SunPower photovoltaic system, which is upgradable to a 3.2-kilowatt array for $5,000, said KB Homes spokesperson Craig LeMessurier. The homes start at about $200,000 for a 1,837 square foot home and go up from there based on size and options.
In Lancaster, the average typical utility bill is about $210 a month. The 1.4-kilowatt system reduces the energy bill to about $94 a month, according to LeMessurier. The larger systems can cut the utility bill even further.
“It really depends on the size of the home. On a 2,000 square foot home, it can reduce the monthly utility bill by 80 to 90 percent,” he said.
While the larger photovoltaic system costs more, homebuyers can qualify for additional tax incentives the almost make up for the additional cost. Buyers can also choose a 1.8-kilowatt option, with additional tax incentives for solar, LeMessurier said.
In all, KB Homes plans to build 90 homes with solar at the site, Le Messurier said.
“The past builder left the site,” he said. The company bought the unfinished development, which included 18 homes already completed or near completion, from a bank.
“Lancaster agreed to waive certain municipal development fees for the project and fast-tracked it through the approval process,” the company said in a press release.
“They did reduce the fees for us, which really helped the project get off its feet,” LeMessurier said. It is the first city to work with KB Homes to reduce the permitting fees that he was aware of.
Though offering solar as a standard option is still relatively new to KB Homes—it launched a couple of projects in March, for instance—it’s increased interest in them, according to LeMessurier.
“The fact that we’re doing this has driven a lot of traffic to our communities,” he said. Learning about the tax credits and what the solar installation does to monthly utility bills has helped potential buyers with the decision.
“It takes them less time to purchase a home,” LeMessurier said. Previously, people would check out a home three to four times before deciding on it. “But now they’re coming back around twice before they [choose].”