At least 500 homes in a new California subdivision will be equipped with solar electric systems.NEWARK, Delaware, US, 2001-06-25 [SolarAccess.com] At least 500 homes in a new California subdivision will be equipped with solar electric systems. AstroPower Inc. has been selected by US Home to supply PV home power systems as a standard feature in the Bickford Ranch community in Lincoln. The first 500 systems will be installed starting in 2003, and the goal is to install 1,000 solar homes to make its the world’s largest community of single-family grid-connected solar electric-powered homes. “This agreement is a significant advance for the solar industry,” says Bob Johnson of the research firm Strategies Unlimited. “The magnitude of the installation sends an important signal to California and to the rest of the world regarding the growing importance of solar electric home power and an individual’s ability to take control over his own electricity generation.” Bickford Ranch will include 1,880 single-family homes and 60 acres of public parks on 2,000 acres near Sacramento. More than 58 percent of the land will be preserved as recreational and natural open space, and half of the homes are age-qualified, meaning that the homeowners will be at least 55 years of age. “We are proud that this community will be the largest solar installation of its kind in the world,” says Brian Bombeck of US Home’s Sacramento division. “With the ever-increasing cost of electricity and the unreliability of the utility grid, there’s value in solar power that we could not have left untapped.” Homebuyers will purchase AstroPower’s SunUPS system with battery backup or the SunLine system which does not contain a continuous power option. Both systems are fully packaged with all components to integrate seamlessly into the construction process. “From the day they move in, residents who choose solar electric power in the Bickford Ranch community will begin saving money,” explains Howard Wenger, vice president of AstroPower. “The bottom line is that solar power at Bickford Ranch will be more affordable than today’s utility grid power, thanks to streamlined costs realized in new construction, built-in financing, and a California incentive rebate that cuts the installed cost in half.” “Not only that, these residents will send power back to the electricity grid, literally spinning their utility meters backward, while lowering their electric bills,” he adds. “US Home has just brought a healthy dose of good news in the wake of the California energy crisis.” “The impacts of the Bickford Ranch installation will undoubtedly be recognized throughout the solar power industry as well as the building market,” says Allen Barnett, president and CEO of AstroPower. “There are no installations like it in the world today. One thousand homeowners – in one single-family home community – will reap the benefits of solar electric power. This provides further evidence that solar electric power is becoming mainstream.” AstroPower is based in Newark, Delaware, and claims to be the world’s largest independent manufacturer of solar products. It manufactures and sells PV cells, modules, panels and systems for off-grid and on-grid applications. US Home is a division of Lennar Corp of Miami, Florida. The company builds homes in 14 states under brand names such as Lennar Homes, Greystone, Village Builders, Renaissance, Orrin Thompson, Lundgren Bros., Winncrest and Rutenberg Homes.