If you’re looking to build a new home in Miami (or renovate an existing one), be aware that the Miami City Commission recently approved a law that requires all new homes to have solar panels.
The City Commission passed the ordinance in a 4-1 vote. Commissioner Josh Liebman was the only dissenting voter.
The ordinance requires 175 square feet of solar panels per one thousand square feet of roof, or 2.75 kilowatts per 1,000 square feet of living space (whichever is less).
The ordinance applies to townhomes, single-family residences and multi-story residential buildings. If renovations are being performed to one of these structures and over 75% of the unit is being replaced, or 75% is being added on, then solar panels are also required.
While being the first city in Florida to pass a law like this, Miami joins three other California towns who have passed similar solar panel laws. Lancaster, Sebastopol and San Francisco also require solar panels to be installed on any new home construction.
Mayor Philip Stoddard was quoted by NBC Miami as stating, “the question becomes what can we do today to give our kids and our grandchildren a better future in the face of climate change and sea-level rise and we have to do everything we can.”
Stoddard is an FIU biology professor and his house runs completely on solar power.
The mayor feels that the benefits will be far reaching. Not only will future generations reap the rewards of environmentally friendly laws, but current residents of Miami will wind up saving money by lowering their electrical bills.
Family Businesses for Affordable Energy was one of the dissenting groups, claiming that for low income families, the required solar panel installation will be cost prohibitive. Lieberman was quoted as saying that “This is going to raise the average cost of the home,” and was the main reason for his dissent.
Proponents such as Philip Stoddard argue that the long-term savings outweigh the short-term costs. The Mayor said that installing solar panels will create more jobs, lower carbon emissions and make houses sell faster.
Stoddard also said that he was concerned because 7% of the Miami City budget derives from fees that the electrical utility pays to the city.
Florida voters approved another bill last year that made solar power more affordable and feasible by lowering property and solar taxes. Homeowners who have gone solar are reaping the benefit by sending extra power back into the grid (that they aren’t using) and are being given credits which offset any energy from the grid that they do use.
Miami’s new solar panel construction law goes into effect on September 18th, 2017.