Florida City to be Powered by the Sun

by | Apr 13, 2009

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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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