Lennar Corp. announced Wednesday that, beginning immediately, all of their new communities constructed in the greater San Francisco Bay market will be equipped with a roof-integrated solar electric system from PowerLight, a subsidiary of SunPower Corporation, as a standard feature. The launch begins with the introduction of Milano, a 77 luxury home development in Danville, Calif.

"We based our decision on two very important factors," said Dale Billy, president of Lennar's Bay Area Homes in a press release. "We listened to extensive consumer research that has been conducted over the last several years and, of course, we're keenly aware of the positive impact this type of program has on the environment."

According to Bill Kelly, SunPower's general manager of new homes division, Milano is one of 25 California communities that are under construction and using PowerLight's solar electric system. In addition to a one-time $2,000 federal tax break, home buyers will also receive a $5,000 to $6,000 California Energy Rebate and an average electric bill savings of 40 to 60 percent or up to $1,000 a year. Kelly says the cost to the consumers for the system is $23,000 to $25,000.

"Lennar is taking a real leadership position in this," Kelly told BUILDER Online in a telephone interview Wednesday. "They are exceeding California standards."

The new 77-home Milano community, with homes ranging in size from 3,673 square feet to 4,243 square feet, will utilize a solar electric system that integrates into the roofline, differing from the traditional above roof solar panel design of the past. According to Les Lifter, Lennar vice president of marketing, the Milano community will be the "first of many" with a standard solar package. Three additional communities, totaling 400 homes, in nearby San Ramon, Calif., are slated to have the new systems.

Lifter says the demand for solar homes is what potential buyers are asking for. "Lennar is a consumer-centric company - what our consumers are saying in the Bay Area is that they value solar homes," Lifter explained. "And we are a large company, so we can do high volume."

Miami-based Lennar builds homes in 17 different states. SunPower Corporation, based in San Jose, Calif., designs and manufactures silicon solar cells and solar panels.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: San Francisco, CA, San Jose, CA.