Del Webb, an arm of production builder Pulte Group specializing in master-planned communities for the 55+ market, announced April 12 it will offer solar and other green features standard in two of its active-adult communities in Arizona.

The 11,200 planned homes in Sun City Festival in Buckeye and Sun City Anthem at Merrill Ranch in Florence will include a 1.8-kW roof-integrated solar array to supplement grid energy as well as efficiency-boosting features such as CFL lighting, enhanced attic insulation, and tankless water heaters. The houses are expected to receive HERS scores of 50 or less. Low-flow fixtures also will be installed.

"Adding solar at these Del Webb communities is the next logical step in the company's pursuit to build a better, more energy-efficient home," said Jim Petersen, Pulte Group director of research and development, in a statement. "This is the right time to make this commitment to the community and our future homebuyers. The tough economic times have made saving money even more meaningful and we expect the technology to be well accepted by our homeowners."

By leveraging local and national solar incentives, the builder will add the PV upgrades without having to pass the cost on to buyers or raise base prices, according to a Del Webb spokesperson. Homes prices in Anthem at Merrill Ranch range from the $130s to the $260s; Festival ranges from the $140s to the $300s.

The Arizona developments bring the number of Pulte solar communities to 10, with locations in California, Nevada, Mississippi, and New Jersey offering PV standard or as an option.

Katy Tomasulo is Deputy Editor of EcoHome.