New Florida City To Run On Solar Power

Apr 13, 2009 by John Messina weblog
Babcock Ranch, Florida

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new Florida city, Babcock Ranch, will power 19,500 homes by solar power and cost the average customer's monthly bill an additional 31 cents. This will be the first city on earth powered by zero-emission solar energy.

The new city is being developed by Kitson & Partners on 17,000 acres northeast of Fort Myers. The city will include the world's largest photovoltaic plant, which will be operated by Florida Power & Light.

The concept behind this 75-megawatt solar generator is that it will produce more power for the state's electric grid while the sun shines than the city will use in 24 hours. For the evening and night time hours, Babcock Ranch will have to rely on conventional power sources but its net effect will be a city.

FPL estimates the Babcock Ranch solar facility will cost about $300 million and sit on 350 acres within the development.

Kitson & Partners are also working on projects in the up coming years that include adding 1,200 megawatts of power fueled by natural gas in Palm Beach County and 2,200 megawatts of new nuclear power at Turkey Point.

A study by Fishkind & Associates reported that the city of Babcock Ranch will generate 20,000 permanent jobs plus thousands of temporary positions for the construction of the new city.

Babcock Ranch will have an integrated ''smart grid'' that will allow power users to monitor and control their energy consumption. All commercial buildings and homes in the new city will be certified as energy-efficient and construction will comply with Florida's Green Building Council standards.

Pending approvals, groundbreaking on the solar plant could start later this year and construction of the city center could begin next year. Included in the development will be six million square feet of retail, commercial, office, civic and light industrial space.

© 2009 PhysOrg.com

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User comments : 17

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Soylent
2.2 / 5 (9) Apr 13, 2009
Zero homes can be powered exclusively by the solar panels, because the solar panels can't provide electricity when and where it's needed.

What these solar panels will actually do is save a little bit of natural gas on sunny days.
vlam67
2.1 / 5 (7) Apr 13, 2009
...not to mention that the installation of solar panels and asscociated in frastructures are putting bullshitia excreta microbes species living in the area in danger of extinction, which is inexcusable!
finfife
4.3 / 5 (7) Apr 13, 2009
Soylent,

Read the article. This isn't an off-grid system. They're calling it a solar-powered city because its solar-electric output will exceed its usage. Power will flow in and out of the city.
GrayMouser
2.3 / 5 (8) Apr 13, 2009
Soylent,
Read the article. This isn't an off-grid system. They're calling it a solar-powered city because its solar-electric output will exceed its usage. Power will flow in and out of the city.

Is the output going to exceed the 24-hour usage or just the usage when the sun is at an optimal angle?

Another question, is there money coming in from somewhere else? $0.31 per month in additional cost seems to be extremely low.
ryuuguu
4.3 / 5 (8) Apr 13, 2009
Soylent,

Read the article. This isn't an off-grid system. They're calling it a solar-powered city because its solar-electric output will exceed its usage. Power will flow in and out of the city.


Is the output going to exceed the 24-hour usage or just the usage when the sun is at an optimal angle?



Another question, is there money coming in from somewhere else? $0.31 per month in additional cost seems to be extremely low.


At first I though Soylent, Graymouser and the like, were just illiterate or had serious reading difficulty, but since I see BS statements like the above, where they work very hard to misunderstand the articles they comment on, it became obvious they are just astroturfing stooges trying to collect their 3 cents a post dumping on any article that might hurt coal or oil companies in the long term.

E_L_Earnhardt
4.3 / 5 (6) Apr 13, 2009
It's got to start somewhere!
LuckyBrandon
4.4 / 5 (5) Apr 13, 2009
they should just dump out the additional cost, add some windmills, then take it off grid. Either way though, its a great start.
ealex
4.7 / 5 (3) Apr 14, 2009
Hopefully this won't remain just on paper and 3D drawings.
DGBEACH
1 / 5 (2) Apr 14, 2009
So I guess THEY don't believe in Global Warming, since Fort Myers will supposedly be a couple of feet under water once all the glaciers have melted...or are they in denial?
DozerIAm
2 / 5 (3) Apr 14, 2009
So... they got the approval to lay out a massive PV array without environmentists carping (and lawsuiting) about how it will endanger some sand flea's environment? Well good on them!

I have issue with the city being advertised as "the first city on earth powered by zero-emission solar energy" when in reality it will running off the grid like all other modern cities, and it will only be producing more energy from solar sources than it uses during daylight hours, when its sunny out.

This is a worthwhile project and it will add value to the grid, but the article massively oversells the premise.
bmerc
2.5 / 5 (2) Apr 14, 2009
So... they got the approval to lay out a massive PV array without environmentists carping (and lawsuiting) about how it will endanger some sand flea's environment? Well good on them!



What I thought when I read this article was that it is really a shame that this project couldn't suffer the same delays and cost overruns due to stupid lawsuits just like nuclear power plants suffer and so driving up the cost, if for no other reason than to make a more accurate comparison in costs of both types of power generation.
aMindwHeart
not rated yet Apr 14, 2009
I was hoping this was a project of "The Venus Project" which is based in Florida. Check it out if you would like to see a plan for true sustainability and a very high standard of living without the excessive cost...

http://thevenusproject.com

(and no, I'm not getting paid to promote anything, it's just a very good thing)
Lord_jag
5 / 5 (2) Apr 15, 2009
If *nothing* else, it makes people feel good about thinking they are helping the environment when they live in this community.

If *nothing* else, it will determine once and for all what the viability of solar energy is within the USA.

If *nothing* else, it will show what real vs theoretical power production will be.

If *nothing* else, it will force solar companies to further think about how to mass produce solar panels, cheaply and efficiently.

Treat this like a full scale research project. Just make one of them and find all the problems.

Hey if Kitson and Partners think it's viable, then let them do it. I'm glad my tax money isn't funding the whole thing. When/if they discover that it's viable and worth the investment, then we can do this all over.

Furthermore, peak demand is mid-day for most southern states that use air conditioners. The more the sun shines, the more AC you need and the more the solar panels churn out power. It's not a total solution, but it helps where we need the most help today.
Roach
not rated yet Apr 17, 2009
Ft. Myers FL hardly represents the US in terms of solar availability, it represents almost the maximum possible rather than the norm. Although it's failure would pretty much represent a nail in the coffin.



does anyone need another lesson in fire up times on power plants? really, this isn't going to make a very big difference. maybe optomistically it'll let the coal fire plants reduce a little between 10AM and 3PM, but that 5 hours not even enough time to lower the burn rate and bring it back up.

That said I am all for cheap economical solar panels, I've been looking at some for a sailboat and those things are scary.
Soylent
1 / 5 (1) Apr 19, 2009
Soylent,

Read the article. This isn't an off-grid system. They're calling it a solar-powered city because its solar-electric output will exceed its usage. Power will flow in and out of the city.


Yes and that's not a solar powered city. It doesn't matter how much solar power they export, if 10% of power consumption comes from solar power it's nowhere near the largest source of electricity for the city and it never can be.

It's not simply mincing words, it's flatly wrong.

The grid is not a bank where you can store electricity, one kWh is not equivalent to another kWh just like a seat-hour at the football stadium is not equivalent to another seat-hour. Time and place matters.

100% of the solar nameplate capacity needs backup by natural gas and it will always need backup by natural gas or equivalent generators that can come online whenever necessary. The fraction of electricity generation solar PV can replace is limited by the amount of gas and hydropower on the grid and the seasonal variability of solar power, and it always will be.
EdP
not rated yet May 07, 2009
Soylent,



Read the article. This isn't an off-grid system. They're calling it a solar-powered city because its solar-electric output will exceed its usage. Power will flow in and out of the city.




Is the output going to exceed the 24-hour usage or just the usage when the sun is at an optimal angle?







Another question, is there money coming in from somewhere else? $0.31 per month in additional cost seems to be extremely low.




At first I though Soylent, Graymouser and the like, were just illiterate or had serious reading difficulty, but since I see BS statements like the above, where they work very hard to misunderstand the articles they comment on, it became obvious they are just astroturfing stooges trying to collect their 3 cents a post dumping on any article that might hurt coal or oil companies in the long term.





I noticed that too.
DozerIAm
1 / 5 (2) May 07, 2009
Is it so wrong to be skeptical of media reports that grossly exaggerate the facts?