A solar-powered town is being built in Florida. The builder Babcock Ranch recently got a restaurant, a school and a community gathering built in it and is now looking forward to adding the most important thing in the town, its residents. Babcock Ranch is built on 18000-acre and expects to have 19500 homes and 50,000 residents within 20 to 25 years. The first residents of the town moved in January.
It located about an hour northeast from the tourist attractions of Fort Myers, below Tempa and Orlando. Building a town is usually a project that involves many people on the team, however, Babcock Ranch has only a single person behind it, Syd Kitson, who is a developer in Florida. The town’s website states, “n 2005, Kitson set out to prove that smart growth and preservation could work hand in hand.” In the early 20th century, the land was originally used for logging and agriculture by lumber baron and mayor of Pittsburgh, Edward Vose Babcock. The land was known as the Babcock Nature Preserve.
In 2006, Babcock’s heirs put the land on sale which was bought by Kitson. Kiton beat the state of Florida in the bidding. Later, he sold most of his land to the state of Florida and started building Babcock Ranch on the rest of it. Kitson told the New York Times, “This is how I am going to change the world.”
The vision of Kitson to change the world completes with self-driving solar-powered shuttle buses. In the town, a small three bedroom is being sold at $195,000 while a huge four-bedroom, two-story house is for sale at $750,000. In an interview with CBS, Kitson told, “We want to be the most sustainable new town in the United States. We had the advantage of a green field, a blank sheet of paper. When you have a blank sheet of paper like this, you really can do it right from the beginning.”
The town is still working on the latest solar tech and economics. There are several ways to store solar energy when the sun is not available. This includes flow batteries and hydrogen, but Babcock Ranch does not use any of them. Commercializing the tech is a little too expensive for now so the town will get electricity at night and on cloudy days from the traditional electrical grid station.
Kitson said that the solar energy was declared to be the cheapest source of energy in 2016 and the change to it will not affect anyone’s bills. He said, “The people here pay the exact same amount that everybody else pays in the Florida Power and Light network.” Babcock Ranch is trying to be like any other town in the world. It is focusing on clean energy and STEM. The K-6 school in the town is the envy of the area. The website also shows that there will be weekly yoga classes and hikes too.
For the first residents, the town has some other perks too. The first couple to move in, Richard and Robin Kinley, have their home by a lake. That lake is now called Lake Kinley after the first resident’s name. The idea and construction of the town are indeed amazing. Let’s see how soon the residents will start to move in and how efficient the solar systems of the town proved to be as the population will increase.