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The Associated Press March 22, 2011, 7:51PM ET

Partial solar power to be norm in some KB homes

KB Home said Tuesday it will start offering solar power systems as a standard home feature at 10 of its California developments.

The move is part of an effort to make KB's homes more energy-efficient -- and attractive to buyers -- than sharply discounted foreclosed properties and other previously occupied homes, the company's competition.

KB, which builds homes to order, has provided solar power systems as an option in some developments in California and Colorado for several years. This is the first time photovoltaic systems will be standard for all of KB's homes in a given community.

The systems KB is offering -- of 1.4 kilowatts each -- will generate enough electricity to cut energy costs about 30 percent for a home of 1,800 to 2,000 square feet, the company said. SunPower Corp. is supplying the systems.

Homebuyers can upgrade to a larger solar power system for more money but not opt out of having the standard model installed, the company said.

KB did not say how much the 1.4-kilowatt systems add to the cost of its homes.

The company already offers solar systems in developments in Temecula, Eastvale and Chula Vista, Calif., where houses start at prices from $249,990 to $360,000.

KB plans to open five more developments in Southern California over the next 60 days and two more in the fall.

The Los Angeles-based company, which builds homes in 12 states, said it may expand the initiative to other markets if consumers respond positively.

Shares in KB Home slipped 12 cents to $13.11 in aftermarket trading on Tuesday after falling 12 cents to $13.23 during the regular session.

Shares of SunPower fell 40 cents, or 2.5 percent, to close Tuesday at $15.71. They rose 14 cents after hours.

KB announced the new solar offering before the markets opened Tuesday.

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