Solar Power to the People: Babcock Ranch

At Innovative Solar Systems (ISS), we take pride in offering renewable energy.  We believe in the many benefits of utility-scale solar farms and want to help secure our country’s future with every project we undertake.  As a result, we were especially excited to learn that as of March 2018, there are eight full-time residents living in America’s first solar-powered town, with developers expecting the town to reach 500 residents by end of the end of this year.

The town is Babcock Ranch, located north of Fort Myers, Florida.  Under the guidance of developer Syd Kitson, Babcock Ranch had its groundbreaking in October 2015.  As for its own utility-scale solar farm, it occupies 440 acres donated by Kitson to Florida Power and Light (FPL), and the last of over 300,000 solar panels was installed in 2016.  Babcock Ranch and FPL took the solar farm operational on December 31, 2016.  The farm will generate 74.5MW, which is more electricity than Babcock Ranch needs, so the excess will go to other FPL customers.

Kitson’s plan is that Babcock Ranch will ultimately contain 19,500 energy-efficient homes and 6 million square feet of commercial space.  Residents will enjoy amenities such as public green areas and trails, community gardens that support a farm-to-table lifestyle, internal transportation with electric powered self-driving shuttles that will run on set routes.  A resident who wants to use the shuttle will be able to use a smartphone app to schedule the trip.  In the neighborhood parks, residents can use solar trees to power their handheld devices, and Kitson has included in his plans solar micro communities, comprised of rooftop solar panels on commercial buildings inside the town.

Kitson’s dream of a sustainable, responsible town is admirable and will hopefully not be the last of its kind in our country.  In keeping with his goals to be a good steward of natural resources and to conserve much of his original land purchase, Kitson sold the state of Florida 73,000 acres, now known as Babcock Ranch Preserve. The town itself will cover 18,000 acres.

Here at ISS, we respect the efforts of Syd Kitson and FPL in their work to create a sustainable town. It is exciting news for all of us in the solar industry and proof that we are helping America’s families.  ISS is a custom developer of utility scale solar farms. For more information on working with us, please see our website at or call John Green (CEO) 828-215-9064.