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Florida is the “city of the future’ is the first solar city in America

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Babcock Ranch is America’s first solar-powered city

City of the future? The small Florida community looks to the history of America’s greenest city; Phil Keating reports.

Jasmin Day is pregnant, and when her girl or a boy is born later this year—they keep the gender a surprise—her baby will be the first child born in Babcock Ranch, Fla.

“Almost all the boxes are undone,” she says while walking over the just delivered new bed. She, husband Josh, and young children, Judson and Elliot, just moved into their new house and this new community – also known as the city of the future.

The young couple from Memphis, Tennessee. couldn’t be happier.

“To be able to be a part of a community of everyone who cares,” Josh Day said, “and wants that for them, not only for themselves but also for their children and their grandchildren have a clean Earth when our children are older.”

His wife added: “I think we are beautiful all in! We live here. We are working here.”

Babcock Ranch, near Fort Myers on the state’s west coast, was developed from the start with a huge solar energy farm to generate 100 percent of the electrical needs. Approximately 350,000 photovoltaic solar panels stretch out over a strip of land the size of 200 football fields.

As a developer, Syd Kitson, a former NFL lineman with the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers, bought the 71,000-acre estate, it was all old mining and agricultural land.

Babcock Ranch, near Fort Myers on the state’s west coast, was developed from the start with a huge solar energy farm to generate 100 percent of the electrical needs. Approximately 350,000 photovoltaic solar panels stretch out over a strip of land the size of 200 football fields.

It is now the country’s first completely solar-city, with a very low ecological footprint, a soon-to-open school, electric shuttles that will eventually be driverless, a nice square with shops and a focus on the environment and conservation.

Where most developers would build and sell homes as possible, for more profit, Kitson’s vision at the beginning was the preservation of the majority of the open space, now several lakes and 50 miles of bike paths.

The homes run from $190,000 to about $499,000. Residents can take their work in the city, but are not obliged to do so.

The completed footprint will eventually be 19,500 homes.

“We think about the way we develop differently…. It is the most environmentally friendly, the most sustainable new city ever developed,” Kitson said. “And it is the first solar-powered town in America. And we are very proud of.”

In January, the first two people moved. Now there are 150 homes under contract with an expectation that there will be 250 families have moved in December. Eight developers are now building homes. The vision is a unique creation of a 45,000-person small town.

But first came the massive solar farm. Kitson gave the land to Florida Power & Light for free, that already more than $100,000,000 installing the panels, cables and storage of batteries. That solar generated energy is now shared in FPL the grid, such as Babcock Ranch of the question, at this point, remains very small.

John Woolschlager, an urban planning professor at nearby Florida Gulf Coast University, said that all cities can eventually follow Babcock Ranch model, but it will take years. Babcock Ranch big advantage was that it is built up with the self-reliance and pro-environment philosophy on the ground first.

“I also think, if you look to the distant future, it is going to be a necessity,” Woolschlager said. “If we want a good life in the future, we have to think of more sustainability, because if we don’t, we’re going to run out of energy, water and raw materials.”

For Josh Day, he landed a physical therapy job in the city square Life Wellness Center. So, if he is not with the bike to work and home, he can just drive on solar energy, electric shuttle, in a city that – for now – has no traffic or rush hours.

Phil Keating joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in March 2004 and currently serves as FNC’s Miami based correspondent.

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