Saturday, February 11, 2012

KB Home Offering Solar as Standard Feature on New Florida Houses

KB Home, the Los Angeles-based builder that targets first-time buyers, will offer solar power systems as a standard feature on houses it’s building in some parts of Florida.

The first KB house with rooftop panels will be available next month at its Fisher Plantation development in Apopka, George Glance, president of KB Home’s Central Florida division, said today in a phone interview.

The 52-home community is the first in the region to include solar power as a standard feature, according to a company statement. Rooftop panels reduce homeowners’ monthly costs and increase resale value, and will make KB’s houses stand out in a tough real estate market, Glance said.

“We can create value in a new home that consumers couldn’t otherwise get from our competitors or on the resale market,” Glance said. The owner of a one-story, three-bedroom home may save as much as $1,200 a year on energy costs, KB Home said.

The solar-equipped homes in Fisher Plantation will start in the “low $200,000s,” the company said. KB already offers similar solar options on more than 1,000 homes in California.

BlueChip Energy LLC is providing 1.4-kilowatt solar systems to KB. They retail for $10,800, and KB is getting them for a discounted price, Glance said.

Homebuyers are eligible through 2016 for a federal tax credit worth about $3,000, or 30 percent of the cost of the solar unit.

The incentives, combined with the convenience of having the system built into new structures, may appeal to buyers, said Harvey Bryan, a professor at Arizona State University’s Global Institute of Sustainability and its Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

“It’s like the granite counter top -- you’ve got to make it that easy of a decision,” Bryan said in a phone interview. “It’s a no-brainer now. Installations are becoming very simple.”


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