Florida Power and Light will be running will be running the world's largest Photovoltaic Power Plant for the new solar city "Babcock Ranch." Babcock Ranch is the name of the residential development being built near Fort Myers FL on a 17,000 acre parcel by Kitson & Partners. An estimated 19,500 energy efficient homes will be built and certified green as well as office buildings and retail space.
More then half the city (17K acres) will be made into protected open green space. Solar panels needed to run it will be located on 350 of those acres and FPL's 75 megawatt solar generator will potentially produce more than enough electrical power to run the city. In the beginning stages and for the foreseeable future the city will run on conventional power during nighttime hours.
The cost of the solar facility is $300 Million and the cost to FPL customers to fund this will mean an added 31 cents to their bill. The residents of Babcock Ranch as well as business owners will be able to monitor and control their energy useage as they'll have access to an integrated "smart grid." There will be homes built for blue collar workers as well as luxury homes for the well-to-do.
Kitson and Partners know that the success of this new solar city will depend on the economy picking up. It's hoped people who believe in the power of alternative energy will choose their housing over traditional residential communities. The economy of the city will be partly sustained by the new "green jobs" that will be created to run, maintain and upgrade the citie's technology.
The state legislature and Public Service Commission have to approve of this plan and upgrade renewable energy arrangements for Kitson and Partners in order to make their planned community economically feasible. If they get their approvals and changes, groundbreaking for 75-megawatt plant may start later this year and construction on the actual residential areas sometime next year.
The rest of the story can be found at the Miami Herald.