2017-09-07 / Real Estate News

Solar power generation takes center stage at Babcock Ranch

Solar Trees, Rooftop Arrays expand solar presence
ADVERTORIAL

Above: The 75-MW photovoltaic solar plant powers innovation at Babcock Ranch. Solar Trees add style and functionality – powering charging stations for hand-held electronics under the shade of the solar panels. Babcock Neighborhood School is one of three Founder’s Square buildings now home to rooftop solar arrays.Above: The 75-MW photovoltaic solar plant powers innovation at Babcock Ranch. Solar Trees add style and functionality – powering charging stations for hand-held electronics under the shade of the solar panels. Babcock Neighborhood School is one of three Founder’s Square buildings now home to rooftop solar arrays.
Recent additions to Founder’s Square at Babcock Ranch shine a spotlight on the new town’s commitment to solar energy. Solar panels installed on commercial rooftops, electric vehicle charging stations and five “solar trees” installed within the initial downtown district help position this charming new hometown on the cutting edge.

Located off State Road 31 north of the Lee County Civic Center, the solar-powered town being built by Kitson & Partners will eventually be home to 50,000 people living and working in a town of 19,500 homes and apartments and six million square feet of commercial space - all constructed to Florida Green Building Standards. Sustainability features – from water conservation to alternative transportation – are woven right into the infrastructure of this environmentally-friendly community. But solar power is what really sets Babcock Ranch apart.

“We spent a lot of time talking about how to make the community sustainable, how to make it different than anywhere else – and solar energy to us was the key,” explained Syd Kitson, Chairman & CEO of Kitson & Partners. “Our partnership with Florida Power & Light (FPL) makes us the first solar-powered town in the country.”

The Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center, located on 440 acres of former sod-farming field on the northern edge of the new town, generates more clean, renewable energy than the new town will ever consume. The 74.5 MW solar field went online in December of last year – before the new town’s first buildings were constructed. But the partnership with FPL extends beyond the solar field. Earlier this summer, FPL installed five “solar trees” around Founder’s Square – functional sculptures with solar panels powering charging stations for smartphones and other hand-held electronics. The solar trees are also an educational tool for students at Babcock Neighborhood School who will learn about renewable power generation by monitoring data feeds from the solar tree located just outside their door. Late last month, solar panels placed on the rooftops of three buildings at Founder’s Square added another 121 KW of solar generating capacity. These rooftop arrays are the first of many “micro-communities” of solar generation that FPL will be installing on top of commercial buildings throughout the new town.

“Our technology and renewable energy focus make Babcock Ranch a living laboratory where great new technologies can be incubated, adopted and continually improved to stay on the cutting edge,” Kitson said. “For future generations, we are creating an environment where our kids will feel open to exploring new ideas and using technology in new ways to transform their lives.”

Learn more at www.babcockranch.com. ¦

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