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Published on April 10th, 2009 | by Derek Markham

51

Florida to Build First Solar Powered City in U.S.

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April 10th, 2009 by
 
 
solar powered city

The first 100% solar powered city in the U.S. is in the works, and will be powered by the world’s largest photovoltaic plant.

The eco-city, called Babcock Ranch, is a joint venture between a real estate developer, Kitson & Partners, and Florida Power & Light, and will be located near Fort Myers, Florida.
 

 
Babcock Ranch will include almost 20,000 houses and 6 million square feet of mixed retail, office, and light industrial space, and have city-wide wireless internet and electric car charging stations throughout.

The city will be fully powered by solar during the day, and produce an excess of electricity that will be exported to the grid. The CEO of Kitson said the project will serve as a model to other communities and be a “living laboratory for companies, workers and families ready to reap the rewards of innovation.”

Florida Power & Light expects to break ground on the $400 million solar PV plant this year, pending regulatory approval. Construction of Babcock Ranch is slated for the summer of 2010.

The project’s cost is estimated at $2 billion, and is expected to create 20,000 jobs.

Image: markus941 at Flickr under CC License

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About the Author

lives in southwestern New Mexico and digs bicycles, simple living, organic gardening, sustainable lifestyle design, slacklining, bouldering, and permaculture. He loves good food, with fresh roasted chiles at the top of his list of favorites. Catch up with Derek on Twitter, RebelMouse, Google+, or at his natural parenting site, Natural Papa!



  • http://www.homes-and-interiors.com/energy-efficient-homes.html Energy Efficient Homes

    Wow! It’s great.

  • Hi96

    OMG JUST WHEN I NEEDED IT! I was planning on moving to Florida when I get out of college and possibly having a solar powered house and being ecofriendly! If this actually happens my dream will come true!! I’m only in 8th grade but atleast I have a well thought out plan ;)

  • Hi96

    OMG JUST WHEN I NEEDED IT! I was planning on moving to Florida when I get out of college and possibly having a solar powered house and being ecofriendly! If this actually happens my dream will come true!! I’m only in 8th grade but atleast I have a well thought out plan ;)

  • Uncle B

    Just think! When oil is over $150 a bbl and coal is more than double its current price, when Asia is competing for both on the world markets with a strong Yuan against our deeply indebted dollar, the sun will still shine in Florida, the electricity will still flow, air-conditioning will still be possible, and life will go on! Great stuff! We need more solar energy developed in the U.S. while the sawbuck will still buy the equipment needed! The sun is a renewable, or perpetual resource, it just keeps coming up every day, no matter what , and never “runs dry” like and oil well and cannot be exhausted, and the price is the same every day – free! I like it!

  • Uncle B

    Just think! When oil is over $150 a bbl and coal is more than double its current price, when Asia is competing for both on the world markets with a strong Yuan against our deeply indebted dollar, the sun will still shine in Florida, the electricity will still flow, air-conditioning will still be possible, and life will go on! Great stuff! We need more solar energy developed in the U.S. while the sawbuck will still buy the equipment needed! The sun is a renewable, or perpetual resource, it just keeps coming up every day, no matter what , and never “runs dry” like and oil well and cannot be exhausted, and the price is the same every day – free! I like it!

  • http://www.absolutecomfortonsale.com/ mattress

    Great idea, make use of all that FL sunshine. I think the approach is good in that for solar power to really start to ever make big headway in the U.S., it will require ambitious projects on big scales to make a big splash.

    As someone mentioned above the cost is more than reasonable … creating that many homes and jobs for that price is great.

  • http://www.absolutecomfortonsale.com/ mattress

    Great idea, make use of all that FL sunshine. I think the approach is good in that for solar power to really start to ever make big headway in the U.S., it will require ambitious projects on big scales to make a big splash.

    As someone mentioned above the cost is more than reasonable … creating that many homes and jobs for that price is great.

  • http://www.absolutecomfortonsale.com/ mattress

    Great idea, make use of all that FL sunshine. I think the approach is good in that for solar power to really start to ever make big headway in the U.S., it will require ambitious projects on big scales to make a big splash.

    As someone mentioned above the cost is more than reasonable … creating that many homes and jobs for that price is great.

  • Pingback: Solar City… « Corrosive Material

  • Bosco

    Go American Industry!

  • Bosco

    Go American Industry!

  • Bosco

    Go American Industry!

  • http://ambitiousdesign.com Stephen Ackart

    Sweet I live next to that city! Oh wait I live in Oklahoma, damn those government bastards!

  • http://ambitiousdesign.com Stephen Ackart

    Sweet I live next to that city! Oh wait I live in Oklahoma, damn those government bastards!

  • http://ambitiousdesign.com Stephen Ackart

    Sweet I live next to that city! Oh wait I live in Oklahoma, damn those government bastards!

  • http://www.wind-power-home-guide.com Steve

    I’ve been exploring alternative energy for a very short time in the grand scheme of things, and this looks like a really great development. As other posters have mentioned, it’ll be far better when we retrofit existing housing stock, but to generate publicity and make a big leap forward in terms of reminding homeowners that now’s the time to start taking responsibility for our own energy needs (and reducing those needs)… This sounds like a great idea to me!

  • http://www.wind-power-home-guide.com Steve

    I’ve been exploring alternative energy for a very short time in the grand scheme of things, and this looks like a really great development. As other posters have mentioned, it’ll be far better when we retrofit existing housing stock, but to generate publicity and make a big leap forward in terms of reminding homeowners that now’s the time to start taking responsibility for our own energy needs (and reducing those needs)… This sounds like a great idea to me!

  • http://www.wind-power-home-guide.com Steve

    I’ve been exploring alternative energy for a very short time in the grand scheme of things, and this looks like a really great development. As other posters have mentioned, it’ll be far better when we retrofit existing housing stock, but to generate publicity and make a big leap forward in terms of reminding homeowners that now’s the time to start taking responsibility for our own energy needs (and reducing those needs)… This sounds like a great idea to me!

  • Mark

    I’m from Fort Myers and for the past few years have been up at school. But when I come home I always see that same damn roads under construction. Can we please finish all the road work we “need” before handing the key to the city over to the EPA and PETA?

  • Mark

    I’m from Fort Myers and for the past few years have been up at school. But when I come home I always see that same damn roads under construction. Can we please finish all the road work we “need” before handing the key to the city over to the EPA and PETA?

  • Mark

    I’m from Fort Myers and for the past few years have been up at school. But when I come home I always see that same damn roads under construction. Can we please finish all the road work we “need” before handing the key to the city over to the EPA and PETA?

  • Ben

    I completely agree with you Brian. This project looks eco-friendly in its packaging but building 20,000 single family house is goes against so many parts of sustainability. We should be looking to improve the existing conditions in our cities instead of creating new ones. This project would be much more effective if tagged on to an existing city or town in Florida. Also I want to know what they are planning for these houses. If they are going to be using standard building methods and materials this will still be a huge attack on the environment. It doesn’t seem like they are planning on incorporating sustainably designed homes within this project, but just tacking on things that sound eco-friendly.

  • Ben

    I completely agree with you Brian. This project looks eco-friendly in its packaging but building 20,000 single family house is goes against so many parts of sustainability. We should be looking to improve the existing conditions in our cities instead of creating new ones. This project would be much more effective if tagged on to an existing city or town in Florida. Also I want to know what they are planning for these houses. If they are going to be using standard building methods and materials this will still be a huge attack on the environment. It doesn’t seem like they are planning on incorporating sustainably designed homes within this project, but just tacking on things that sound eco-friendly.

  • Ben

    I completely agree with you Brian. This project looks eco-friendly in its packaging but building 20,000 single family house is goes against so many parts of sustainability. We should be looking to improve the existing conditions in our cities instead of creating new ones. This project would be much more effective if tagged on to an existing city or town in Florida. Also I want to know what they are planning for these houses. If they are going to be using standard building methods and materials this will still be a huge attack on the environment. It doesn’t seem like they are planning on incorporating sustainably designed homes within this project, but just tacking on things that sound eco-friendly.

  • Rick

    2 Billion??? 20000 jobs??? For how long? Will it take 20,000 people to wipe clean all those solar panels once a week? Or is it 5000 to build the things, 5000 to wipe, 5000 to stare at gauges, and 5000 to assist widows and housewives with their questions. I’m all for solar panels and have actually lived off the grid, using only 2 panels; unlike most of you. But this is a ridiculous example of exaggerating benefits and using fear of “global warming” to justify yet another bloated govern-mental attempt to control us all and spend our nation to death.

  • Rick

    2 Billion??? 20000 jobs??? For how long? Will it take 20,000 people to wipe clean all those solar panels once a week? Or is it 5000 to build the things, 5000 to wipe, 5000 to stare at gauges, and 5000 to assist widows and housewives with their questions. I’m all for solar panels and have actually lived off the grid, using only 2 panels; unlike most of you. But this is a ridiculous example of exaggerating benefits and using fear of “global warming” to justify yet another bloated govern-mental attempt to control us all and spend our nation to death.

  • http://www.austexvideo.com Joseph

    I think it’s a great idea, but certainly ambitious. It sure will take a mess of PV cells to meet such a need. Even to make a single family home 100% solar powered, will almost completely cover an entire roof. That, and a rack of car batteries to store power when the sun isn’t shining.

    Still, I admire the vision.

  • http://www.austexvideo.com Joseph

    I think it’s a great idea, but certainly ambitious. It sure will take a mess of PV cells to meet such a need. Even to make a single family home 100% solar powered, will almost completely cover an entire roof. That, and a rack of car batteries to store power when the sun isn’t shining.

    Still, I admire the vision.

  • http://www.austexvideo.com Joseph

    I think it’s a great idea, but certainly ambitious. It sure will take a mess of PV cells to meet such a need. Even to make a single family home 100% solar powered, will almost completely cover an entire roof. That, and a rack of car batteries to store power when the sun isn’t shining.

    Still, I admire the vision.

  • Geraldo Franco

    Hello Florida! Frankly, you are welcome to solar-power World. Imagine if you had a head-start from the mid-seventies, time of the first large fuel crisis?

    I am positive that your experience will qualify other large states and countries to this kind of technology. Meanwhile, good luck! If Fritz Schumacher knew about it he would be radiant… just like the sun…

  • Geraldo Franco

    Hello Florida! Frankly, you are welcome to solar-power World. Imagine if you had a head-start from the mid-seventies, time of the first large fuel crisis?

    I am positive that your experience will qualify other large states and countries to this kind of technology. Meanwhile, good luck! If Fritz Schumacher knew about it he would be radiant… just like the sun…

  • Geraldo Franco

    Hello Florida! Frankly, you are welcome to solar-power World. Imagine if you had a head-start from the mid-seventies, time of the first large fuel crisis?

    I am positive that your experience will qualify other large states and countries to this kind of technology. Meanwhile, good luck! If Fritz Schumacher knew about it he would be radiant… just like the sun…

  • http://www.madmaxwbk@aol.com mad max

    thats great for those bozoes but come to louisiana we could use this more the elet bills are hurting some famies to the point that there living with out power n the goverment of no help

  • Brian

    Why are people not outraged by this development? Has anyone even looked at the forecasted sea-level rise maps for Florida? This whole section of the state will be underwater! And what about hurricanes? Studies have shown that it is highly likely that they will increase in frequency and intensity.

  • Brian

    Why are people not outraged by this development? Has anyone even looked at the forecasted sea-level rise maps for Florida? This whole section of the state will be underwater! And what about hurricanes? Studies have shown that it is highly likely that they will increase in frequency and intensity.

  • eonsaway

    How exciting, a futuristic city! I hope it all works out, the US could be on the map for clean energy in a big way. Get to work and be on the cutting edge instead of languishing.

  • eonsaway

    How exciting, a futuristic city! I hope it all works out, the US could be on the map for clean energy in a big way. Get to work and be on the cutting edge instead of languishing.

  • Mark

    The cost isn’t that bad actually… $2 billion for 20,000 homes and the energy to sustain them amounts to about $100k/home, which is low enough to actually generate a PROFIT from the development. A potentially HUGE profit.

    Coal is a thing of the past, it’s dirty and it’s time to move forward. Besides, coal requires ongoing work to extract and process. Solar, on the other hand, is mostly only subject to up-front costs, and its long-term costs go way down. If you had the choice between a solar plant and a coal plant that would both be running 50+ years, you’d go with solar, no?

  • Mark

    The cost isn’t that bad actually… $2 billion for 20,000 homes and the energy to sustain them amounts to about $100k/home, which is low enough to actually generate a PROFIT from the development. A potentially HUGE profit.

    Coal is a thing of the past, it’s dirty and it’s time to move forward. Besides, coal requires ongoing work to extract and process. Solar, on the other hand, is mostly only subject to up-front costs, and its long-term costs go way down. If you had the choice between a solar plant and a coal plant that would both be running 50+ years, you’d go with solar, no?

  • mike

    Looks like all these oil stock owners are out tonight eating up our energy.

  • mike

    Looks like all these oil stock owners are out tonight eating up our energy.

  • Ron

    “Wait until fossil fuels are depleted”???!!!! That’s the mentality that has Global Warming progressed as far as it has, possibly to far to reverse! Yeah, I’ll get all Kinds of excited about the posibility of an alternate means of energy that is FAR more eco friendly! Not to mention the posibility of being able to have meaningfull employment (I’m an electrition, and hope to be a part of the project). Can’t wait to see other states jump in and try their own solar cities, and Really look forward to electric cars produced on a mass scale, thereby increaseing their affordablity.

  • Ron

    “Wait until fossil fuels are depleted”???!!!! That’s the mentality that has Global Warming progressed as far as it has, possibly to far to reverse! Yeah, I’ll get all Kinds of excited about the posibility of an alternate means of energy that is FAR more eco friendly! Not to mention the posibility of being able to have meaningfull employment (I’m an electrition, and hope to be a part of the project). Can’t wait to see other states jump in and try their own solar cities, and Really look forward to electric cars produced on a mass scale, thereby increaseing their affordablity.

  • Joe

    @Harry

    ^o) Huh? Why would having solar panels… Make everything “indoors”? I’m afraid your logic there may be a tad flawed.

    And also, i do believe that solar panels would be a wonderful place for lizards to gather at to warm themselves up; solar panels not being all that efficient.

    Coal has a major price: massive CO2 releases, thereby heating up the planet (perhaps). So, yes, it IS the cheapest monetarily, but the moment you include environmental concerns it is one of the worst fuels you can use. Keep up, my dear.

    Oh, and about not getting excited until our fossil fuels have been depleted? Isn’t that leaving it a tad late? Only getting into using alternative methods when we’ve completely run out of our current idea?

    Boy, am i glad you aren’t in charge of anything important.

  • Joe

    @Harry

    ^o) Huh? Why would having solar panels… Make everything “indoors”? I’m afraid your logic there may be a tad flawed.

    And also, i do believe that solar panels would be a wonderful place for lizards to gather at to warm themselves up; solar panels not being all that efficient.

    Coal has a major price: massive CO2 releases, thereby heating up the planet (perhaps). So, yes, it IS the cheapest monetarily, but the moment you include environmental concerns it is one of the worst fuels you can use. Keep up, my dear.

    Oh, and about not getting excited until our fossil fuels have been depleted? Isn’t that leaving it a tad late? Only getting into using alternative methods when we’ve completely run out of our current idea?

    Boy, am i glad you aren’t in charge of anything important.

  • Harry

    Look at the cost.

    Home sites for Saudi Oil Shieks or Mexican Drug Lords?

    The cost to fabricte and maintain such solar panels will only be bearable by our Gov.

    It’s great technology to continue to develop – but:

    Don’t get excited until the natural gas and coal have been depleted.

    There’s a reason fosil fuels are so prevalent – they are the most efficient sources of power currently available. (other than nuclear) Coal provides the absolute cheapest electricity on the grid by a wide margin.

    I don’t want to hear how envornomently friendly the solar ceilings will be. Eveything becomes “indoors” – not to friendly to the creatures living there.

  • Harry

    Look at the cost.

    Home sites for Saudi Oil Shieks or Mexican Drug Lords?

    The cost to fabricte and maintain such solar panels will only be bearable by our Gov.

    It’s great technology to continue to develop – but:

    Don’t get excited until the natural gas and coal have been depleted.

    There’s a reason fosil fuels are so prevalent – they are the most efficient sources of power currently available. (other than nuclear) Coal provides the absolute cheapest electricity on the grid by a wide margin.

    I don’t want to hear how envornomently friendly the solar ceilings will be. Eveything becomes “indoors” – not to friendly to the creatures living there.

  • http://www.PlanetThoughts.org David – green thoughts

    It is a start. A project on this scale, if it succeeds, could provide powerful incentives and proof-of-concept to retrofit the power supply of other small cities and portions of larger cities, and eventually, entire large cities.

  • http://www.PlanetThoughts.org David – green thoughts

    It is a start. A project on this scale, if it succeeds, could provide powerful incentives and proof-of-concept to retrofit the power supply of other small cities and portions of larger cities, and eventually, entire large cities.

  • Orion

    Yay I live in Orlando, FL.

    Except they should rename the city. Any name with cock in it is grounds for credibility loss.

  • Orion

    Yay I live in Orlando, FL.

    Except they should rename the city. Any name with cock in it is grounds for credibility loss.

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