South Miami = 1st City Outside California To Enact Rooftop Solar Mandate

Photo-illustration: Pixabay

Yes, South Miami, Florida, supports the Paris Climate Agreement. The city has reason to do so, as concerns are large that Miami and surrounding areas will sink into the wild blue ocean before the end of the century if action isn’t taken. Trying to do its part more, in July, South Miami became the first city outside of California to require that solar panels be installed on roofs of all new homes.

Florida politics often lack clarity and ease of environmental support. Still, South Miami got the message loud and clear and decided to follow California’s lead. The backward politics of wasting millions of dollars on misleading policy proposals and TV ads is not the way to go. South Miami, luckily, understands that.

This move syncs up South Miami with 6 cities in California that have begun requiring solar be installed on all new homes or even all new buildings (residential and commercial). In Florida, a state that slips all too often with environmental progress, things are indeed taking a turn. Climate Central reports that the South Miami City Commission voted 4–1 in July to approve the new solar mandate law.

It is no secret that South Florida is one of the most threatened regions due to climate change. Climate Central continues that Mayor Philip Stoddard says the city is trying to cut its carbon footprint to help avert what seems like an impending crisis in the region. As sea levels and storm surges rise, cities are finally waking up to the reality and the loss of seaside land.

“We’re down in South Florida where climate change and sea level rise are existential threats, so we’re looking for every opportunity to promote renewable energy,” Stoddard said. “It’s carbon reduction, plain and simple. We have a pledge for carbon neutrality. We support the Paris Climate Agreement.”

So much construction took place in recent years, it is unfortunate that this encouragement is only coming now, but better now than never.

“The new law won’t put solar panels on all the region’s homes and it won’t significantly cut climate pollution, but it is the first concrete step by a city outside of California to require renewable energy to be considered as part of the design of any new home.” There are actually some places in China that require this as well, but South Miami seems to be the first city outside of California with such a requirement.

“Action to expand renewables on the local level is critical at a time when the federal government has stepped back from advocating for renewable energy,” said Jeremy Firestone, director of the Center for Carbon-free Power Integration at the University of Delaware.

As many have noted before, cities have had to take up more responsibility as Republicans have claimed control of the US federal government, with Donald Trump in the White House (some of the time). Climate Central emphasizes: “President Obama made support for rooftop solar a part of his Climate Action Plan, which the Trump administration has abandoned.”

“These mandates will have an effect locally,” Firestone said. “As to the larger effect, they would hopefully move states to increase the fraction of the (electricity) generation that has to be dedicated toward renewable energy.”