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Solar-powered neighborhood opens in Antelope Valley

July 6, 2011 | 11:20 am

Solarhome The Antelope Valley welcomed its first solar-powered community Wednesday with the grand opening of Arroyo, a development promoters say will reduce homeowners’ energy bills and the overall cost of homeownership.

The ranch-style properties that sit on half-acre sites in Lancaster and include up to five bedrooms were built by Los Angeles-based KB Home and offer solar-power systems as a standard feature.

“The abundance of clear sunny days makes Lancaster the perfect place to own one of KB Home’s new solar homes,” Steve Ruffner, president of KB Home’s Southern California division, said in a statement. “In addition to lessening a homeowner’s impact on the environment, the standard solar system may cut a homeowner’s energy costs by more than half.”

For example, according to information provided about Arroyo, a single-story three- to four-bedroom home could generate an estimated energy bill of $94 a month or even as low as $46 a month if a home buyer chooses to boost the property’s solar capacity.

In comparison, Lancaster officials said residents reported spending an average of about $210 a month on gas and electric bills, according to 2008 U.S. Census Bureau statistics.

Lancaster city officials said they viewed the advancement and research of solar and other green technologies as a priority, so they had “fast-tracked” the Arroyo project through the approval process and agreed to waive certain municipal development fees.

“This private-public partnership is an example of what local governments throughout the nation should be doing in order to resuscitate their housing markets,” Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said in a statement. “We know we simply cannot sit back and wait for others to ‘fix’ the economy.”

Other highlights of the homes include up to three bathrooms and three-car garages, according to information provided by city officials.

Buyers can choose from six single-story floor plans ranging in size from 1,837 square feet to 3,037 square feet. Prices for the homes start in the low $200,000s, officials said.

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-- Ann M. Simmons

Photo: Solar home in Lancaster's Arroyo development. Credit: KB Home

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