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Power Technology

Florida To Build Solar-Powered City 195

Posted by samzenpus
from the sunny-side-of-the-street dept.
Mike writes "The sunny state of Florida just announced that they will begin construction this year on the world's first solar-powered city. A collaboration between Florida Power & Light and development firm Kitson & Partners, the 17,000 acre city will generate all of its electrical needs via a 75 megawatt, $300 million solar-powered generator. The city will also use smart grid technology to manage its power and allow all inhabitants of the community to monitor their energy consumption."
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Florida To Build Solar-Powered City

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  • golf carts too? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tresstatus (260408) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @08:08AM (#27595877)
    will it be like one of those crazy retirement communities in florida where everyone drives golf carts? what will happen at night when all of those old farts plug their golf carts in? 8)
  • by DanielRavenNest (107550) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @08:16AM (#27595939)

    Several reasons:

    (1) Installation on the ground is less expensive than on rooftops.

    (2) If you put them on rooftops, all the houses would have to point in the same direction and have the same roof angles to get best efficiency

    (3) In hurricane country, you might want to reset the panels horizontal in a storm to avoid damage

    I assume they will be tied to the rest of the grid as backup, and to cover cloudy days, ie the city will generate its own power on average, but not necessarily at any given moment.

  • by Thanshin (1188877) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @08:19AM (#27595971)

    Start with wooden buildings and dirt roads. Add some cows, some pigs, chickens...

    The almighty sun will make the plants grow and with those you can feed the animals and the people.

    And you got a solar powered city.

    You can have bees for the candles to read at night. The honey is a bonus.

  • Re:In other news... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @08:52AM (#27596225)
    Isn't thermal storage one of the options? One that actually makes sense in case of a solar power plant? (With the obvious requirement of ditching photovoltaics for solar thermal power generator, of course.)
  • Re:Air Conditioning? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by WindBourne (631190) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:00AM (#27596279) Journal
    The water table is within 10' (3 meters) of the surface throughout all of the Florida peninsula per a tour at hemmingway's house. It is for that reason that hemmingway's house was one of the FEW that has a basement.

    Apparently, doing geo-thermal HAS a major issue there. The problem is that water is cooler underground which retards microbial growth. Add heat constantly, and all the fertilizers that Florida used on sugar, oranges, etc and you have a REAL issue with growth in your drinking water. As such, a number of the counties NOW control that VERY closely. The reason that I know about this, is that my father lives in Palm city and I suggested that to him to lower his AC bill. He told me all the above.
  • Re:golf carts too? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tresstatus (260408) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:25AM (#27596517)
    have you ever been to one of those cities? they don't use the golf carts to go play golf. they drive them up and down the roads. walgreens has tiny parking places for them. they all have tiny garages for them. http://www.worldofstock.com/closeups/TRO1636.php [worldofstock.com]
  • by Mendoksou (1480261) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:28AM (#27596553)

    Since the panels could be used as the roof itself, there wouldn't be any more leverage for storms to rip them off.

    True, except Murphy's law dictates that a more expensive roof is more likely to be destroyed.

    Another thing that came to mind, though: Having a big effing generator is all nice and well, but what do they do at night? Do they have a dam nearby they can use as a power reservoir?

    Or during four days of cloud cover during a large hurricane for that matter. My guess is that they are tied into the FPL network and will be powered by one of the Nuclear generators around there. You can't really have an effective dam in Florida, it's too flat, water will just run around it.

  • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater&gmail,com> on Thursday April 16, 2009 @11:03AM (#27597945) Homepage

    Great - so Southern FL loses more of it's already alarmingly shrunken natural habitat, places more strain on it's limited water supplies, some developer pockets big bucks in subsidies from the the taxpayers, and we get what...? Yet another development that's planned and promised to be great and wonderful and new, and ends up being just more crowding and cookie cutter ticky tacky - but with solar panels.

  • Re:Air Conditioning? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by zurkog (96881) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @11:27AM (#27598271) Homepage

    Modern folks think they are required to have air conditioning

    Tallahassee resident and former South Florida resident here. Sure, A/C isn't required. Neither is an internet connection. Neither is electricity, if you want to debate the meaning of "required". But all of those are necessary for modern life. Summers in Florida without A/C consist primarily of sitting on a porch, fanning yourself and drinking iced tea. It makes for a nice "Andy Griffith" tableau, but for those of us not benefiting from coastal breezes (like Jacksonville), we'd rather get some work done.

    As far as older folk and kids "keeling over", heat strokes do still happen, and they happened more frequently before air conditioning became commonplace. Sure, most of them are northern transplants who don't know you can suffer from dehydration without feeling thirsty.

    All that being said, I think you're 100% correct about home design and landscaping. The amount of land here that has had its native live oaks bulldozed to make way for a subdivision with puny little trees in their front yards is mind boggling. I'd love to see more houses look like this [ufl.edu], or at least landscaped according to this [ufl.edu].

  • by JWSmythe (446288) * <(moc.ehtymswj) (ta) (ehtymswj)> on Thursday April 16, 2009 @11:34AM (#27598379) Homepage Journal

    > Since the panels could be used as the roof itself, there wouldn't be any more leverage for storms to rip them off.

        You've never been in a hurricane, have you?

        Leverage doesn't have all that much to do with things getting ripped up. Wind, pressures, and dumb luck have a lot to do with it.

        Hurricanes can be rough. I still prefer them to earthquakes, but, they're rough. I've seen well secured things rip loose. I've also seen things that shouldn't have survived a light breeze not flinch.

        Right about the time you've seen a steel roof rip from a building and wrap itself around power lines, you get the idea of what you're in for.

        The "maximum sustained winds" used to rate hurricanes are rough. Ya winds over 100mph can make life difficult. But the real wind hazard is in the tornadoes. We're talking about winds that can pick up a car and toss it for miles, or take a 2x4 and make it into a cement block wall piercing missile.

        I've helped friends during hurricanes. I'm the friend who will drive out to you, to help evacuate when you realize that your house is too close to the water, or that your car is stuck under a tree (like UNDER a tree), or that your road is blocked by debris. I can't say I've seen it all, but I've seen enough to know that no matter how nice you think a roof panel is, it's nothing. When it comes down to it, you could lose the entire upper part of your house. Ok, so the roof stays intact. It just isn't tied to the ground any more. :)

        And speaking of which, the North Atlantic hurricane season starts June 1st (officially). Wheeee!

  • by default luser (529332) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @01:20PM (#27599711) Journal

    Florida is a hurricane-prone area, and the houses aren't built to-code. Thus, every few years a hurricane comes along and blows roofs off, making more work (and more money) for the contractors. If the original builder's code violations aren't caught, it's a net-win for everyone except the homeowner and insurance company.

    Florida offers a double-edged sword, as the code is poor to begin with, and is almost always not followed. Corrupt building inspectors allow this sort of crap to continue unabated. Just take a look at this damaging report from 1998 [haznet.org].

    A highlight:

    Alex Major was the owner of a frame house in Country Walk, a development of more than
    1,100 homes in unincorporated Dade County. Country Walk gained notoriety because virtually
    every building there was destroyed or damaged during Andrew due to inferior construction,
    and later property owners won a class-action suit against the developer. "Devastation was
    amazing--some houses were totally flattened," said Major, who won a separate lawsuit against
    the developer. "There were 52 code violations in my house, most of them in the roof." Major's
    roof gables had not been tightly attached to the frame walls, which had not been tied down to
    the slab. So when the roof gable was blown off, some of the walls collapsed. Fortunately, Major
    and his family were not at home during Andrew.

    So now, they want to put panels costing tens of thousands of dollars on said crappy roof? You'd have to be nuts to agree to such a stupid idea. But they're already crazy in Florida, as this whole code-violation situation is accepted as-normal, so I'm sure you'll find some takers.

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