Babcock Ranch: The First Solar Town in America

March 07, 2024

About the Neighborhood

Babcock Ranch, located outside of Fort Myers, Florida is the first solar town in America. In 2018, Babcock Ranch welcomed its first residence. The community features parks, lakes, and greenways dedicated to restoring the ecosystems. Additionally, the neighborhood includes 50 miles of preserved and restored ecosystems. Babcock Ranch’s way of life has renewable energy at the core and empowers residents to minimize their environmental footprint. Furthermore, water conservation is an integral part of their green initiative. All the homes meet the Florida Green Building requirements, which include energy efficiency, conservation, and low-impact landscaping standards.

Solar Driven

Babcock Ranch partnered with Florida Power & Light (FPL) to create the FPL Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center and FPL Babcock Preserve Solar Energy Center on 870 acres of land. In total, the land houses 650,000 solar panels. These copious panels produce enough to supply 30,000 homes. Although, the community only has about 5,000 residents currently. All this excess green power is sent to the grid for surrounding areas to use!

Surviving Hurrican Ian

On September 28, 2022, Hurricane Ian landed on the Florida coast. The category four storm intensified over the Gulf of Mexico with winds up to 155 mph. Luckily for Babcock Ranch residents, the innovative community designed homes to withstand these harsh conditions. Additionally, Babcock Ranch is located 30 miles inland to steer clear of the brunt of coastal storm surges. The community’s power lines are underground to prevent damage, and the community is surrounded by retaining ponds to prevent flooding.

Hurricane Ian caused four million customers in Florida to lose power, but this was not the case for Babcock Ranch. One resident, Wilkerson, told NPR that they felt 100-mph winds and only experienced a slight light flicker while never losing power. The only signs of damage to the town were a few street signs, palm trees, and one traffic light down right outside the development. Another resident, Kitson, told 60 Minutes the recovery lasted less than a day. The community center at Babcock Ranch doubles as a storm shelter. The shelter kept people in surrounding hard-hit communities safe from the storm.

Take independence today and own your power. Let’s see if going solar is right for you!