Lessons Gleaned From A Florida Solar City: Babcock Ranch
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While residential solar panels are a common sight across America, solar has not yet become a mainstay of community electricity. Some places are trying to change that. A great example is Babcock Ranch — a solar-powered city in Florida. What is Babcock Ranch, and why is it unique?
An Overview of Babcock Ranch, Florida
The land which would become Babcock Ranch was purchased in 1914 by its namesake, Edward Vose Babcock. The land had logging and farming. Eventually, the Babcock family sold the land to Syd Kitson, a former NFL player. He then sold some parts of it to the state of Florida for conservation purposes and used the rest to establish Babcock Ranch.
What Makes Babcock Ranch Unique?
Babcock Ranch is a planned community surrounded by undeveloped land. The idea came from Syd Kitson’s dream of building a self-sufficient, renewable-powered town. Kitson and his company spent 10 years building homes and infrastructure to ensure that they were environmentally friendly.
Babcock Ranch Takes Many Environmental Measures
One of the goals of Babcock Ranch is to establish itself as the most environmentally friendly municipality in the country. The Ranch has several practices that help it get there. Much of the food is grown on-site, the roads use materials from the Ranch, and they use recycled wastewater to water crops.
Babcock Ranch and Solar Power
Chief among BChief among Babcock Ranch’s environmental efforts is solar power. A massive 870-acre solar farm powers the Ranch. Solar “trees” throughout the community complement the farm by providing charging stations for handheld devices and serve as a visual reminder to live a more sustainable lifestyle.
Utility-Scale Community Solar And Sustainable Living
The solar farm maintains the Ranch’s sustainability. Most places rely on a hybrid model of coal-fired power plants alongside residential solar to meet their renewable needs. The Ranch, however, has bypassed the need for fossil fuels by relying purely on solar energy.
Babcock Ranch Is a Blueprint for Solar Communities
Babcock Ranch is still going strong today. It provides a valuable lesson in widespread solar. The Ranch supplies clean energy to thousands of residents by eschewing fossil fuels and relying purely on solar.
Florida Utilities Implementing Solar Today
Many towns could benefit from using Babcock Ranch as a blueprint for their energy projects. Large solar farms are better than polluting the air with fossil fuel plants. Many Florida utilities realize the benefits of renewable energy, resulting in community solar programs and other renewable energy and efficiency incentives.
Taking Control of Your Energy Production
The problem is that these utility-funded solar programs often fall short of the 100 percent renewable electricity Babcock Ranch offers residents. Residential solar gives Florida homeowners the most power over their electricity generation. Battery backup adds even more control because they allow the solar-generated electricity to continue powering their home at night and during an outage.