March 24, 2017

Florida’s First Sustainable Town Opens: Babcock Ranch

By: Vicki Parsons - IT


Zayan Guedim

March 23, 2017

Initiated by a former football player, Florida boasts the first eco-friendly planned community, which is fully powered by solar energy. Currently in search of residents, Babcock Ranch will host a community of 50,000 people.

As photovoltaic technologies grew in the 2000s, the idea of a solar-powered city gained momentum. Many countries have taken the initiative to plan cities that operate with solar energy only, pushing companies to invest in green projects. However, the United States is lagging behind.

Even while possessing advanced solar energy technologies, enthusiastic investors and people willing to ride the solar wave, the dream of 100% American solar city remained on hold, until now.


Welcome to Babcock Ranch, America’s First Solar Community

Syd Kitson FootballAmerica had to wait for a former NFL football player to make a dream come true.

(left)Syd Kitson, drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 1980

Rather than investing in conventional real estate opportunities, Syd Kitson imagined an entire city that doesn’t depend on any carbon-emitting energy and that would be the first true green city of America. Welcome to Babcock Ranch.

In 2006, the former NFL player turned real estate developer bought 93,000 acres of land in Southeast Florida, before selling most of it to the local government that to create a wildlife preserve. Of the remaining 18,000 acres, Syd Kitson decided to embark on the construction of Babcock Ranch, with 80% of the site dedicated to open spaces.

Once 100% completed in two decades, the sustainable city will be able to accommodate a community of 50,000 people.

An Eco-centric Town That Earns its Name

A small number of energy-efficient model homes have been completed. The first home, a two bedrooms lakefront house, was sold to a retirees couple for $460,000, about twice the average selling price in the area.

Apart from the apartments and houses, a public school, as well as shops and restaurants, are planned. Hiking trails, open green spaces, lake views, locally grown food are a few of the offerings of Babcock Ranch. Future residents of the ranch will also be able to order a driverless vehicle to travel around the city.

To earn its nickname as a solar town, the main asset of Babcock Ranch is its 179-hectare site given to power company Florida Power & Light to build a solar farm. The on-site facility will provide enough clean and sustainable energy (75 megawatts) to power 21,000 households.

All Babcock Ranch needs now is an engaged community that would set the example for other initiatives to follow. What would it take for you to join a community like this?