New Florida city to run on 75-megawatt solar plant

By on April 12, 2009, 11:44 AM
There is an impressive blueprint in the works for a 19,500-home city in Florida that has been projected to be the first city on earth powered by zero-emission solar energy. The city, Babock Ranch, is being developed by Kitson & Partners, a private residential and commercial real estate investment and development company, on 17,000 acres (350 of which will be occupied by solar panels) northeast of Fort Myers.

While researchers are working toward storage capabilities, presently, solar electricity is only available during daytime hours, meaning that the city will rely on conventional power sources during the evening. However, the current concept is that Florida Power & Lightís 75-megawatt solar generator will produce more power for the stateís electric grid during sun-up than the city will consume in a 24 hour period, effectively canceling out night-time use.

It is estimated by FP&L that the solar facility will cost approximately $300 million and add about $.31 to the average customerís monthly bill.

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TJGeezer said:
"It is estimated by FP&L that the solar facility will cost approximately $300 million and add about $.31 to the average customerís monthly bill."Is that for higher operations and maintenance costs? - or mostly a levy to help the builder amortize the plant? If the former, I wasn't aware solar was more expensive to maintain than coal or hydro plants, or whatever source FP&L normally uses.
tengeta said:
Solar is far more expensive to maintain... and boy when a hurricane comes that could get nasty. It will always cost more than other sources because solar plants require a power reserve to provide power when the panels have no light. It is definitely getting cheaper though, its likely a quarter of what it would have cost a decade ago.Believe me, if it was that cheap 90% of Arizona and Southern Cal would be running off it already. The two deserts here in the southwest are the perfect environment for solar.I'm not against the technology, but just like coal plants from the past (and yes, they were that much worse even 50 years ago) they need to be improved for constant worldwide use.
polidiotic said:
So wait... 350 acres... just for solar panels, it's more costly for the consumer AND inefficient. Sweet... sounds like a great deal.
nazartp said:
Well, wait till the next oil price spike, and those solar panels will be cheaper than conventional sources. The entire market is driven by price (as it should be) and if the oil prices stay high enough, wait for such cities to pop out more often.
polidiotic said:
Or, we could actually come to terms that man made global warming is a facade... and we could possibly promote capitalism, by allowing the coal industry to continue doing what it's doing, and allow drilling for oil on and around our homeland... and, oh, I don't know... build more nuclear reactors (which are clean). End result? Free market reigns, competition ensues, prices drop and we have domestic, reliable and efficient energy.
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