Babcock Ranch is an approximately 18,000-acre planned community under development in Southwest Florida is to be the first solar-powered city in the United States.
Babcock Ranch will have the largest photovoltaic power station in the world and a network of rooftop solar panels on commercial buildings, planned to be expanded over time. These are intended to send more renewable power into the Florida electrical grid than the city consumes.
Plans for the future city of Babcock Ranch were announced in 2005 by real estate development firm Kitson & Partners as part of a complex real estate transaction that facilitated the largest conservation land acquisition in Florida history. Kitson & Partners have stated their goal is for Babcock Ranch to be the “world’s most sustainable city”. A grand reveal was held on April 20, 2016. Vertical construction is planned for summer 2016 with model homes completed end of year and downtown buildings early 2017.
Plans are for Babcock Ranch to have an interconnected system of computer networks utilizing the IBM Rational Focal Point software running all city services from transport to energy to communications, and also linking up to local businesses; Babcock Ranch will be added to IBM’s list of the world’s “smarter cities.” According to Smart Planet, wireless Internet connectivity will cover the whole of Babcock Ranch city.
Kitson & Partners was expected to break ground on infrastructure and housing developments sometime in early 2012, but due to the late 2000s economic recession and Florida legislators rejecting a renewable energy bill, that would have allowed the development to move forward with an initial 75-megawatt solar array through a partnership with Florida Power & Light Co., a spokeswoman for Kitson & Partner said the project has been stalled for a year. The company said this is because state law now requires utilities to pursue the cheapest power alternative, and the first homes are now not expected until end of 2016 early 2017.
Plans for the proposed city of Babcock Ranch were developed with public participation through a series of meetings held in Charlotte County in early 2006. It was formally announced with the first application for development approvals. Babcock Ranch Designed as a magnet for high tech companies and research and development hub for clean energy methods, Babcock Ranch is supposed to be self-contained with four villages and five hamlets. The plan is for a total of 20,000 permanent jobs would be added to sustain up to 50,000 residents in 17,870 not sure on this # households. Babcock Ranch is expected to include 5,000,000 square feet of light industry, retail, commerce, offices and civic space. The downtown area will be walkable and bike able, and will include 8,000 homes as well offices, business parks, medical facilities, shopping, restaurants, entertainment and lodges.
Babcock Ranch will have eight magnet schools administered by Charlotte County Public Schools. The elementary schools will be near the center of each village, and the high school will be accessible by bike trails. In addition, Florida Gulf Coast University plans to build a satellite campus in Babcock Ranch. All commercial buildings and homes in Babcock Ranch must be certified as energy-efficient and constructed according to Florida Green Building Coalition standards.