(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 power 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 solar power 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.
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