Babcock Ranch: The Future is in Florida

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Nation’s First Solar City is Six Million Square Feet of Commercial Space

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Think about a city of the future, one run by solar panels, zero-emission autonomous shuttles, bicycles, and residents who live in self-sustainability. Well, it exists, and it is called Babcock Ranch, located in Southwest Florida.

The primary power source consists of 343,000 solar panels over 440 acres, according to CBS News.  The community has already obtained enough solar panels to sustain them for decades, as reported by WINK News.  The solar panels power all of the buildings, street lights, and even their autonomous shuttle. Unfortunately, storing all of this surplus solar energy is still too expensive.

Due to the cost of this, when the sun goes down or is hidden by the clouds, the community is powered by a natural gas plant just a few miles away from the town. Since a traditional power grid runs the backup system, an abundance of overcast days can have an impact on the efficiency they have worked so hard to achieve.

Nonetheless, it is said by Babcock Ranch that their “emissions prevention [is] equivalent to removing 12,000 cars from the road every year.” These solar panels are a vital piece of being friendly to our environment and reaching towards the future.

Also reaching towards the future in Babcock Ranch is a driver-free shuttle. The solar energy harvested in the town powers shuttle which gives off zero emissions. 

In a recent interview conducted by ABC News, the shuttle is run by GPS and is equipped with eight sensors alongside emergency buttons for the safety of its passengers.  Currently, there is only one shuttle roaming the ranch.  The plan is to slowly implement the use of these vehicles as
residents and visitors become more familiar with the concept. 

In this beautiful city of the future, there are already many of the amenities needed to keep such a place running and much more to come.  An aspiring resident can buy a house beginning at a price of nearly $190,000 with monthly fees averaging $140, reports ABC News.  Since it is built on the foundation of sustainability, the residents can reach any business they may need to by bicycle, or the autonomous shuttle on stormy days, Babcock Ranch boasts. 

Babcock Ranch is already home to an elementary school, restaurant, coffee shop, ice cream parlor, and even a clothing store.  Very soon the town will also be celebrating a new Health and Wellness Center which will nearly eliminate any reason to leave the property.

Because of the eco-friendly atmosphere, the community is very focused on nature.  ABC news discusses their outdoor opportunities by stating they have more than fifty miles of hiking trails and beautiful community gardens.  Not only is Babcock Ranch a city of the future, but it is also a beautiful outdoor paradise with a welcoming community for all to enjoy.