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Power Technology

Florida To Build Solar-Powered City 195

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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  • Re:+1 (Score:3, Informative)

    by dotancohen ( 1015143 ) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @08:05AM (#27595859) Homepage

    I would like to live in what seems to be an Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow.

    Exactly what I was thinking. [] And it's in Florida, too.

  • Close to my home.. (Score:2, Informative)

    by zepo1a ( 958353 ) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @08:15AM (#27595933)
    This is about 10-15 miles from my home in Arcadia, FL.

    Most of the Babcock Ranch is swamp land, nature preserve (They do tours there, alligators, FL. panthers, etc..). I am guessing that is why the requirement for Solar power there, as there was a lot of stink locally when it was sold about what they would actually be allowed to do with the land. I look forward to moving there (if I can afford it!)
  • Re:In other news... (Score:3, Informative)

    by bumby ( 589283 ) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @08:28AM (#27596031)
  • by datapharmer ( 1099455 ) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @08:37AM (#27596091) Homepage
    Actually it isn't $2,200 a year, it is under $1140 a year at 6.5% interest for 30 years (the usual home loan term). You must also consider that Florida has some very favorable rebates for Solar and there are some Federal tax credits too. In summer my electric bill is more than $100, so paying $95 for solar before rebates and tax credits will be almost the same amount as coal. Personally I would rather get my energy from solar. If it lasts more than 30 years it is free, if it doesn't then oh well, same price as coal. Sure, there are some other alternate energy sources, but I commend the experiment.
  • by Kokuyo ( 549451 ) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @08:46AM (#27596169) Journal

    In Switzerland, when the whole roof is supposed to be fitted with PV, they often do not even build the usual roof but use stronger panels that can be walked on and used as a roof themselves.

    A roof isn't a cheap thing, at least around here, so this method puts the cost of PV a bit in perspective.

    Since this is a city built from scratch, what would stop them from having all rooftops point the same direction?

    Your third point ties into my statement towards your thirst. Since the panels could be used as the roof itself, there wouldn't be any more leverage for storms to rip them off.

    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?

  • What is amazing (Score:3, Informative)

    by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @08:50AM (#27596197) Journal
    is that it would be cheaper to that place to run a solar THERMAL generator. It would allow easy storage of heat (they use OIL for transfer medium; relatively trivial to store). But instead, they are taking the most expensive form of electricity there is; Solar PV.

    I would love to know why dems are pushing wind and solar PV, when Solar PV is the most expensive option and wind can not be used as base power except with EXPENSIVE storage. Geo-thermal can serve as base power and solar thermal allows relatively cheap base power (solar thermal is cheaper than coal, but once you add storage, it is more expensive; but not by much).
  • Re:In other news... (Score:3, Informative)

    by toQDuj ( 806112 ) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:07AM (#27596345) Homepage Journal

    You would indeed have to generate thermal solar power, store it and convert it into electricity later on. The main drawback with using molten salt (, which is one of the few viable options for electricity generation, is its high maintenance (as it's rather corrosive), and if it solidifies you're fucked as it takes a long time to liquify the entire circulation.
    Another option is vanadium redox-flow batteries, (, but they are not really commercially viable for such large projects and are still in the demo phase.

    What I think'll happen is that they produce (during the daytime) enough energy to cover the average daily use (thereby feeding energy into the grid), and at night draw power from the normal electricity grid.

    If they don't do that they're likely to be a bunch of PR-people making up stories.

  • by Spazztastic ( 814296 ) <spazztastic@gmai ... minus herbivore> on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:31AM (#27596613)

    How long is the lifetime of a plant like this

    It depends on what they use. If they cheap out, it could be less than 10 years. If they go with the good stuff, 25 to 30 years. Here's a list of the solar cell types. []

  • by dotancohen ( 1015143 ) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:06AM (#27597097) Homepage

    Do they have a dam nearby they can use as a power reservoir?

    It's Florida. Too flat to use running water to generate electricity, no delta-h.

  • Re:Air Conditioning? (Score:5, Informative)

    by wrook ( 134116 ) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @11:04AM (#27597967) Homepage

    Yeah, I have to agree with this. I'm living in Shizuoka prefecture in Japan and it gets "Florida hot" and then some (I lived in Tallahassee for a year when I was a kid). In the school where I work we *do* have air conditioning. It's set at 28 degrees C. I don't have air conditioning in my house. I use a hand fan during the day and an electric fan at night. If it's really hot I wear a wet bandana on my head. You get used to the heat. Hell, it's barely even warm here compared to places like India.

  • Re:What is amazing (Score:4, Informative)

    by Cyberax ( 705495 ) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @11:24AM (#27598225)

    Photovoltaics are more expensive, but once they are installed they are pretty much maintenance-free.

    Solar thermal generators, on the other hand, require constant maintenance since they require a conventional steam turbines and generators.

    In the long run, PV has about the same cost as solar thermal plants.

  • by JWSmythe ( 446288 ) * <> on Thursday April 16, 2009 @12:03PM (#27598803) Homepage Journal

        Actually, wrong.

        I used to live near the Inglis Hydroelectric plant []. The dam was built in 1909, but stopped generating power in 1965. I know there was talk through the 80's and maybe early 90's about restarting it, but it's output was insignificant compared to the nuclear and 4 coal plants of the Florida Power (Now Progress Energy) Crystal River site, just a few miles away. Bah, who needs clean renewable, when we have 4 coal burning plants and a nuclear reactor that's offline most of the time. :)

        The link above indicates that they're trying to bring it back online as a 2 megawatt facility. In comparison, the nuclear plant a few miles away is a 914 megawatt facility. The 4 coal plants there generate 2313 megawatts. Then again, the Crystal River site is the 12th worst polluter in the US. Ahhh, gotta love clean burning coal. {cough}{cough}

        People get bent out of shape about new power plants going in. But, they get even more bent out of shape if you try to put a hydroelectric plant in. Not only does it use the land the plant is on, but it also uses miles upstream that it has to back up for water pressure. There's no "natural" way to do it, you need the differential in water level to make it work. How do you say "We're going to flood this million acres, all of you need to move now. You'll be paid for your property. Have a nice day."


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