An Orange County neighborhood will have solar panels as a standard feature on all its newly-built homes, the developer says.

Meritage Homes Orlando is building the homes in Lake Preserve in Lake Nona. The company says solar panels will be standard on all new homes it builds this year.

Meritage officials say recent technological advances have made solar energy a viable option for more homeowners.

"Solar 10 years ago was like Priuses when they first came out. They were great for people who wanted to do the right thing for the planet, but they didn't make a lot of financial sense," said C.R. Herro, VP of Environmental Affairs for Meritage Homes.

"Today, solar isn't about a political ideal or even global climate change. It's about investing in something that pays back $2 for every dollar you spend, and if it's included, it just gives you the $2."

The solar panels are connected to a smartphone app so homeowners can monitor how much energy they're using.