Babcock Ranch is a solar city. But what does that really mean, and how can you benefit from solar energy at your home?
The short answer is that there is a giant solar field near Babcock Ranch that is intended to provide enough electricity for the needs of the community. It is owned and operated by the local utility company, FPL. The land was donated by Babcock Ranch to FPL to make this happen. FPL gets all of the financial benefit of producing fuel-free energy and delivering it to you, all while charging you the full retail rate (which includes a fuel surcharge as required by the Public Service Commission).
It’s a great deal for the environment. It’s not much of a benefit for Babcock Ranch residents when it comes down to dollars and cents.
Be Your Own Power Plant
You do have the option of becoming your own solar energy producer. Your rooftop is a great place to put solar electric panels that you own. You get to use the energy the solar panels produce, and any excess solar energy is sent to FPL who is required to accept it at the full retail rate. They provide a billing credit to apply toward future utility electricity use.
The idea behind a solar panel purchase is essentially locking in your cost of electricity for the next 25 years. While utility electricity rates may go up, you have already made a fixed investment in your own energy plant. In essence, you are prepaying for electricity to avoid increases in rates in the future. It is an excellent hedge investment for the long-term.
If you could lock in the price of gas at today’s cost per gallon for the next 25 years, would you consider it? You would be crazy not to!
So while Babcock Ranch is truly innovative and doing a great thing, you can harness your own return on investment while multiplying the environmental benefits of clean energy. By installing your own solar panels you get to be in control of your energy future, and double the benefits of living in the first solar city!