CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. - A big step forward for a developer looking to bring the world's largest solar facility to Babcock Ranch. And he says, it could mean green energy jobs here in a matter of months.
Today the Florida Senate Energy Committee approved renewable energy legislation that would not only make the state greener, but could create thousands of jobs. But not without a cost to you.
"I don't know another initiative throughout the legislative process that would add more jobs immediately than this bill would," said Rich Paul-Hus, Senior VP of Hypower.
"These are not jobs that we are transferring from another state or that are relocating within the state of Florida, these are new jobs," Syd Kitson, CEO of Kitson and Partners, and Babcock developer said said.
Now the $350 million dollar plant proposed for Kitson's solar city is closer to reality. The plant would generate enough energy to run the 19,000 homes, 6 million square feet of retail and commercial space, and still put power back into the grid "We are what you would call shovel ready. We can be in the ground with this within the next 6 months," Kitson said.
And FPL is ready to build it. The Senate bill allows utility companies to cover costs through customers. Considering the jobs and economic diversity it would bring, some FPL customers don't mind. "If it's just taken out once a month, that's not that bad and to know that it's going to help other people other families feed their children, that's nice," Melba Conpere said.
"Sure, it'd actually better to have a solar system city because it's cleaner for the environment," Andrew Rounds said.
If this bill goes into law, it would take effect july first. FPL already has 3 solar projects in Florida and they cost customers about 25-cents on each month's bill. Those projects have created nearly 5,000 jobs.