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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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  • A new city? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kokuyo ( 549451 ) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @08:03AM (#27595853) Journal

    Do I understand correctly? They want to build a city from scratch?

    In that case, why build a massive solar generator instead of fitting the rooftops with solar panels from the start? It would have the added advantage that one 'incident' at the generator site would nut shut down the whole city.

    And it would probably save massive amounts of space.

  • Air Conditioning? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Muad'Dave ( 255648 ) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @08:11AM (#27595897) Homepage

    Unfortunately the sunniest places are also some of the hottest, requiring quite a lot of power-hungry air conditioning.

    Hopefully they'll take advantage of highly-efficient ground source heat pumps [] since the water table is probably very high in the Ft. Meyers area.

  • by Ancient_Hacker ( 751168 ) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @08:13AM (#27595919)

    Okay, solar-powered city!

    But let's see how much this is going to cost John Q. Resident.

    $300 million divided by say 20,000 residents is $15K/resident. Add in the cost of money and amortization and you're talking at least $2,200 a year.

    Plus they need to build a regular power station to handle 100% of the load for when it gets cloudy and rainy, which in Florida is a non-negligible part of the time. Plus the power lines to bring in all that power to the city. No, you can't assume the rest of their system has that much extra capacity in lines or generators.

    It's not a terribly attractive deal for the actual ratepayers.

  • by Spazztastic ( 814296 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `citsatzzaps'> on Thursday April 16, 2009 @08:35AM (#27596065)

    Photovoltaic systems are generally expensive overall. Usually when they choose where it goes it's been because they did extensive research and simulations [] to decide on which location to build it, which direction the panels will face, whether the climate conditions will cause problems, etc. If they chose to put it in one centralized location, it's because they did the fucking math and it will pay off.

    Disclaimer: My cousin sells photovoltaic systems for a living, I've learned a lot from him while assisting.

  • by fprintf ( 82740 ) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @08:40AM (#27596105) Journal

    I think the amount of sun you guys get in Ft. Meyers is mitigated by the incredible thunderstorms that roll from there down through Alligator Alley toward Ft. Lauderdale. My parents live full time in Naples, FL (about 20 minutes south of Ft. Meyers for those not familiar) and virtually every time we have visited it has been sunny and really hot in the morning, and then incredibly cloudy and eventually stormy in the afternoon. You can almost set your watch that there will be a storm sometime between 2 pm and 5 pm with torrential downpours. The only time of the year this doesn't happen is when it is slightly cooler during the winter - which also happens to be their busy tourist season.

    I like it down there, just not sure I could take not being able to swim in my pool after work every day because it is storming outside. Oh, and the streets that all look the same with a Pulbix or Walgreens on every other corner, and there are no curves to be found anywhere - no wonder Harleys are so popular.

  • Re:A new city? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by krou ( 1027572 ) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @08:44AM (#27596145)

    Well, they are installing rooftops with solar panels, too. From the CNet article [] that the article linked to: "Along with solar panels on the roofs of buildings citywide, it will be a revolutionary leap forward in clean energy for an urban area."

    Besides that fact, if you have a solar generator that supplies electricity to houses, you can then charge those houses for the supply of electricity. Having solar panels for each house effectively means no revenue stream.

    Call my a cynic, but I doubt Florida Power & Light and Kitson & Partners would have been keen to take part in the project without some sort of return. Florida Power & Light are investing $350 million to build the plant, so they'll want something back!

  • Re:A new city? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bpsbr_ernie ( 1121681 ) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:07AM (#27596341) Homepage
    This week... next week it will be... decentralize... centralized is to risky/slow/inefficient... whatever the excuse...
  • by Ruvim ( 889012 ) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:36AM (#27596691)

    While overall this being a good idea, with so many vacancies in FL now, do they really need more real estate?

  • by DerekLyons ( 302214 ) <> on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:59AM (#27596995) Homepage

    Unfortunately the sunniest places are also some of the hottest, requiring quite a lot of power-hungry air conditioning.

    Modern folks think they are required to have air conditioning, sure. But I grew up in Jacksonville (Florida) in the 60's and 70's - and houses with air conditioning were the exception, not the norm. People got along just fine without it. We didn't have older folk or kids keeling over from the heat. Nobody panicked when it got over 75 F.
    What changed in Florida was four things: 1) Cutting down all the shade trees when building new developments. 2) Building standard ranch tract houses rather than houses suited to the climate. 3) Massive waves of 'immigrants' and retirees from colder areas of the country who were unused to the heat. 4) Ongoing marketing by AC companies that AC was 'required' to be modern and up-to-date.

  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spike2131 ( 468840 ) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:00AM (#27597003) Homepage

    Why build a new city in Florida when all the ones they already have are chock full of empty, foreclosed houses? Its a lot more green to live in the places you've already built than it is to build new places. Putting solar panels on your new city doesn't change that equation.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:05AM (#27597077)

    I doubt you have to deal with hurricanes tearing roofs off of buildings in Switzerland, so it makes sense to spend the money on it. While a great idea in general, in FL it's essentially trying to save yourself from losing money shortly down the road.

  • Underwater (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pr0nbot ( 313417 ) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:12AM (#27597189)
    Perhaps Florida should plan for hydro power instead, given the projected rise in sea level? []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:54AM (#27597813)

    How on earth did this fuckwitted driven get modded up? Your argument against this is that it takes up space that could be used for trees? Have you consider that so do the fucking houses, and that also the world needs less reliance on things that spew CO2 into the air more than it needs an acre of trees that stop sucking the stuff up once they grow to full height?

  • Re:Why? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 16, 2009 @11:23AM (#27598215)
    Uhm, because it's not "chock full of empty, foreclosed houses" and the population is continuously rising. Perhaps you are confusing Florida with Detroit?
  • by DerekLyons ( 302214 ) <> on Thursday April 16, 2009 @11:43AM (#27598529) 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.

    In other words, you want to handwave the definition of 'required' until you can force AC into it. (Or less politely, bullshit.)

    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.

    Yet, people got work done before air conditioning. Even in areas without coastal breezes. Or again, bullshit.

  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday April 16, 2009 @02:08PM (#27600295) Homepage Journal

    "..At a seemingly reasonable ratio 12 students per teache"


IN MY OPINION anyone interested in improving himself should not rule out becoming pure energy. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.