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Florida City to be Powered by the Sun

babcockranch2A partnership between real estate developer Kitson & Partners and electric utility Florida Power & Light (FPL) will yield what is claimed to be the world’s largest solar photovoltaic power plant, with the electricity destined for a new city to be powered by solar energy.

The 17,000-acre city of Babcock Ranch will consume less power than the on-site solar facilities will produce, allowing it to become the first city powered by zero-emission solar energy, according to Kitson & Partners. In addition, the city will generate 20,000 permanent jobs and thousands of temporary positions for construction over the next 20 years, according to a study by Fishkind & Associates.

The city’s solar panels will be located on 350 acres within the development and FPL estimates the solar facility will cost about $300 million and add about 31 cents to the average customer’s monthly bill,  reported the Miami Herald newspaper.

Babcock Ranch will also feature an integrated “smart grid” that is said to provide greater efficiencies and allow residents and businesses to monitor and control their energy consumption. All commercial buildings and homes in the new city will be certified as energy-efficient and constructed according to Florida Green Building Council standards.

Subject to State of Florida approvals, groundbreaking on the 75-megawatt solar facility is targeted for late 2009, with construction of the city center planned for mid-2010. Construction of the first residential and commercial buildings is expected to start in late 2010. The city will include 6-million-square-feet of retail, commercial, office, civic and light industrial space.

In addition, the city is adjacent to the 73,000-acre Babcock Ranch Preserve and over half of the 17,000 acres will be permanently protected as greenways and open space. It will also feature sustainable water management and conservation, street lamps designed to reduce light pollution, electric car chargers and green roofs that reduce energy loss.

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3 thoughts on “Florida City to be Powered by the Sun

  1. It is irresponsible to run this article without discussing the environmental implications of such a vast development in such a remote and environmentally sensitive area. The current real estate market in Southwest Florida does not justify such an environmental impact.

  2. Its gonna be tough to run all those air conditioners, lights, and TVs at night when the sun don’t shine….oh, they’ll be backed up by the fossil fuel driven grid.

    So they spend $300M to get 75MW (peak). Assume the sun shines 12 hours per day but from dawn to dusk you average 50% of peak intensity, you may get 164M kwh/yr. Assume the plant runs unattended but you have to borrow the money at 10% to build it, it will cost you $30M/yr in interest or 18 cents / kwh. A typical air conditioned FL home might go through 2000 kwh per month so paying the interest on the loan to build the plant will cost $4400/yr per home. How they come up with < $4/yr is a mystery to me unless the rest of it subsidize it through tax credits, low interest subsidized loans, etc. Oh, and don’t forget, keep the baseload plants handy for cloudy days and nighttime.

  3. Floridan Solar Power – a day-time thing! Next: bio-gas feedlot manure, and human sewage, offal and waste, to make consumer gas and clean lakes and cleaner seashores, then take the storable compressible bio-gas and run the nigh time generators with it! Fact of life, American humanure richer than Asian pig-Shiite due to better diets, produces more usable gas! A win -win! Eat all you want, bio-gas your poop and light up the night! The bio-gas works sludge byproduct makes a top-soil rejuvenating fertilizer too!

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