October 07, 2022

100% solar community has minimal damage from Hurricane Ian

By: Vicki Parsons - IT

Written by Bonface Landi

Babcock Ranch, a community in southwest Florida, is America’s first weather-resilient settlement that is fully powered by solar. The community has a lot to celebrate. It is the first settlement built with climate change threats in mind to protect its residents from hurricanes.

The settlement uses more than 700,000 individual solar panels that generate sufficient energy to power more than 2,000 homes. Further, some of the residents have installed personal solar panels to boost the supply in case of any eventuality. This achievement paints a sharply contrasting picture to the neighboring suburbs that heavily rely on fossil fuel energy sources.

The other factor that was considered while the building was climate resiliency against strong storms. Further, the streets are designed to contain flood water so that it does not get to the houses.

The biggest threat to the establishment came during the recent hurricane Ian. The near category 5 hurricane destroyed the neighboring Fort Myers and Naples, but the Babcock Ranch remained standing strong. Apart from uprooting a few trees here and there, the residents of the community remained safe.

Following the hurricane, more than 2.6 million people across the state lost access to power. However, the residents of the community did not lose water or power. The powerlines in the town are dug underground to avoid the inconveniences caused by storms.

“We have proof of the case now because [the hurricane] came right over us,” Nancy Chorpenning, a 68-year-old Babcock Ranch resident, told CNN reporters. “We have water, electricity, internet — and we may be the only people in Southwest Florida who are that fortunate.”