February 10, 2015

Developer Reaches Agreement with Companies to Pave Way for Solar-Powered Town

By: Vicki Parsons - IT

By Topher Forhecz  / WGCU

syd kitson

A Florida real estate developer is one step closer to creating a sustainable town after settling a dispute with energy companies over land.

Developer Syd Kitson said he plans to build a solar-powered town on Babcock Ranch in Lee and Charlotte Counties.

Kitson announced plans for his solar-powered town in 2009. But the process has also meant trying to figure out how to create a utility on parts of land covered by Florida Power and Light or FPL and the Lee County Electric Cooperative or LCEC.

Kitson said months of negotiations amongst the companies have led to a resolution.

Babcock Ranch is an independent special district, but it falls in between land covered by FPL and LCEC. So when Kitson began talking about creating a utility for his project, the companies got involved.

“They all wanted to protect their customer base, protect their companies and rightfully so,” he said. “I think with that spirit in mind we were able to sit down and work out a compromise for everybody.”

As part of the agreement, FPL will take over LCEC’s Babcock Ranch territory. It will then pay a fee to LCEC and the independent special district.

Instead of Babcock Ranch creating its own utility, FPL will build a solar field on 400 acres of the land.

Kitson plans to build 19,500 homes and six million square feet of retail and office space.

The companies are waiting for final approval from the Public Service Commission.