Solar Energy to be Standard Feature in New Homes

A house builder in California will make solar power a standard feature in its new homes.

NEWARK, Delaware – Shea Homes Inc. of San Diego will install solar systems from AstroPower Inc. in 100 new homes to be built this year. The companies want to build a total of 200 solar homes in the next 18 months, as new development phases roll out. “It’s been a long-term goal of our industry in the U.S. to have solar electric home power systems become a standard feature in new home construction,” says Howard Wenger of AstroPower. “That’s what makes our partnership with Shea Homes so significant. Shea Homes has recognized the value of solar technology as a standard feature.” The San Diego division of Shea Homes will feature solar technology in its newest community located in Scripps Highlands, 15 miles north of San Diego. This solar power and energy efficiency technology will allow homeowners to reduce their utility bills by 50 percent over a conventional home. “We’re doing this to enable our customers to take control of their energy bills,” explains Ryan Green. “We want to build a more efficient home, allow our customers to generate their own electricity, and deliver it for an affordable price.” “The homes in Scripps Highlands are 40 percent more efficient than the strict California energy efficiency standards,” he adds. “This delivers added comfort and value for new Shea homebuyers.” AstroPower’s SunChoice(TM) is a national program to make solar power affordable and easy to obtain. “San Diego is the epicenter of California’s power crisis, where electric rates and bills have doubled and threats of power outages have become common,” says Wenger. “Our SunChoice solar home power systems produce pollution-free electricity, spin the utility meter backward to lower bills, and can also provide power to the home during power outages. It’s a perfect match.” The solar PV systems are designed to integrate seamlessly with home construction schedule, and the system cost is added to the home mortgage to reduce cost. AstroPower is based in Newark, Delaware, and claims to be the largest independent manufacturer of solar electric power products in the world. The public company manufactures and markets PV solar cells, modules, panels and systems for generating solar power. Shea constructed 5,000 homes in 1999, making it the tenth largest builder in the U.S. with $1.6 billion in gross revenues. The private company expects to build 6,000 residential units this year in California, Arizona, Colorado and North Carolina in 2001.

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