Builder Offers Solar Panels as Standard Feature on New Homes
One of the largest U.S. homebuilders has announced that it will include as a standard feature a solar array on new homes in California. According to USA Today, KB Home will incorporate a small array on its new homes in ten California communities. The article reports that, "As homebuilders seek to stand out in a struggling housing market, more are including green features such as energy-efficient lights, appliances and windows in their standard packages. Now, there's a push to add solar panels." The "standard" solar array is 6 panels and 1.4 kW and can cut energy costs by about 30%.
For now, these home solar panels will be standard equipment on more than 800 homes in 10 communities being built in Southern California. But if they gain traction in California, then we would expect to see new home builders offering solar arrays as standard in other communities throughout the country. The New York Times quotes KB Home's director of corporate communications: "This is a game changer for our industry and a powerful way for us to compete in the marketplace, especially with resale homes."
The significance of this new approach in homebuilding is that it begins to bring solar to the masses. According to the New York Times article, "While pricey solar panels are often found on the roofs of high-end houses, it's notable that KB Home is installing the arrays on homes with base selling prices that range from $250,000 to $360,000. In California, that's starter home territory."
We will continue to see whether other builders pick up on this market move.