Florida’s next big community isn’t for retirees — it’s for solar energy buffs. Florida Power & Light and development firm Kitson & Partners are collaborating on Babcock Ranch, a 17,000 acre solar-powered city near Fort Myers. The community will run entirely on a 75 megawatt, $300 million solar-powered generator, and will also use smart grid technology to let all inhabitants of the community monitor their power consumption.
According to the Babcock Ranch website, “Electric vehicles, able to plug in for recharge at convenient community-wide recharging stations, will glide along avenues beneath the glow of solar-powered street lamps. Ingenious, revolutionary Smart Grid technologies will monitor and manage energy use while Smart Home technology will allow residents to operate their homes at maximum efficiency, thereby reducing energy costs.”
If all goes according to plan, construction on Babcock Ranch’s solar facility will begin later this year and construction of the city center will commence next year. All homes and businesses in the city will be certified according to Florida Green Building Council standards. The community will ultimately contain 19,500 homes and 6 million square feet of retail and light industrial space, but Babcock Ranch won’t just have ample room for homes and businesses - the community will also have over 8,000 acres reserved for greenways and open space.
The biggest hurdle for Babcock Ranch will be convincing people to set up shop in a brand-new, unestablished city, even if that community promises 20,000 permanent jobs. What do you think — would you move to this solar-powered city?