Babcock Ranch kept the lights on during Hurricane Ian
The Future. Babcock Ranch, Florida, which calls itself “America’s first solar-powered town,” faced Hurricane Ian straight on… and came out relatively unscathed. That miraculous outcome is thanks to the town’s reliance on solar power and buried electrical lines. Like Whisper Valley, Texas’ plan to rely on geothermal energy to protect from another surprise winter storm, the communities of the future may be built with weather-fighting power plans built into the blueprints.
Despite the havoc caused by Hurricane Ian (four million Floridians without power, entire communities underwater, and a rising death toll), one town was able to weather the storm thanks to the power of the sun, per Insider.
- Despite being only 39 miles away from Fort Myers (where Ian made landfall), the planned community of Babcock Ranch made it through the storm without any power loss, significant damage, or debilitating flooding.
- How? The town (which has a population of about 2,000) runs entirely on solar — a combination of a 650,000-panel solar array, panels on commercial rooftops and in public spaces, and even on homes.
- The whole system provides more energy than the town actually needs, with excess power being stored in batteries for when the sun’s not shining.
- Additionally, the streets are designed to “minimize flooding,” and all power and internet cables are buried underground. Also, the whole town was built above the area that would typically be affected by a storm surge.
Evidently, Babcock Ranch’s sustainable bet paid off big time, with one resident telling CNN, “We have proof of the case now because [the hurricane] came right over us. We have water, electricity, internet — and we may be the only people in Southwest Florida who are that fortunate.”
The town may be a perfect addition to the International Solar Alliance when it finally reaches American shores.