In what both companies are calling the first agreement of its kind, Phoenix-based Meritage Homes Corp. (NYSE:MTH) has chosen PVT Solar of Berkeley, Calif. as its exclusive provider of photovoltaic solar power generation systems nationwide.

The announcement of what the parties are formally calling a "National Agreement" was made Wednesday at the International Builders' Show in Orlando, Fla.

"Echo sets the standard for superior value in solar energy production and as an integrated solar system," said C.R. Herro, vp of environmental affairs at Meritage. "Last year, in a challenging economic environment, Meritage decided to include Echo as a standard feature in 17 extreme energy efficient communities, and it paid off. Many of these communities are selling homes over three times faster than our competition."

The Echo Solar system recycles heat generated by the photovoltaic panels for use in HVAC and water heating systems, and it uses radiative night sky cooling to help with air conditioning. When compared with a standard 2-kilowatt photovoltaic system that provides about 21% of a home's energy, Echo Solar would provide about 46% given the same conditions.

"Because Echo delivers more than twice as much energy as a basic solar system, it enables homeowners to generate more of their own energy, and that makes good sense these days," said PVT Solar CEO Vikas Desai. "Additionally, Echo provides fresh air ventilation. Many homebuyers rank healthy indoor air quality as an important consideration in buying a home, and Echo lets builders meet the needs of these buyers."

Other big builders who have used PVT's Echo in their homes include Joseph Carl Homes and Shea Homes.