The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), Sacramento, Calif., recently entered into an agreement with Woodside Homes, Salt Lake City, to build 1,487 solar-powered homes in the California cities of Rancho Cordova and Rancho Murieta by 2012. According to the utility, the agreement marks the nation’s largest solar-home project. Last year, SMUD announced a similar agreement with Miami-based Lennar Corp. for 1,254 new homes in Sacramento County.

Under the terms of the agreement with Woodside, more than 1,000 of the homes are proposed for Rancho Cordova subdivisions at Douglas and Grant Line roads. Another 350 are planned in the firm’s Sunridge Park subdivisions in Rancho Cordova, and 99 more are scheduled to be built in Rancho Murieta. SMUD funds its subsidies — $5,955 per home under this contract — with a solar surcharge on all customer electric bills. Builders also receive a $2,000 federal tax credit for adding solar systems to a house, and homebuyers are eligible for a $2,000 federal tax credit for buying a solar-powered home.