City of South Miami Mayoral Candidate Horace Feliu 
Goes on the Record about Mandated Solar Panels


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Going green is a noble cause but not without its challenges.  Just ask Horace Feliu who actually created the first Green Task Force in the City of South Miami in2009 when he was serving as Mayor.  The role of the Green Task Force is to provide the South Miami City Commission with suggestions on integrating Green and LEED certified designs in both residential and commercial buildings. Their goal, which is still in effect, is to promote initiatives that would reduce the city’s carbon footprint.

Going green is getting more and more into focus as of late.  Residents of the City of Miami just this month voted to tax themselves in order to create a half a billion-dollar bond that was specifically about curbing the effects of climate change. In a city that is as resistant to taxes as it is susceptible to that very climate change, that vote underscores the importance of municipalities putting a concentrated and strategic focus on evolving into greener cities. 

The City of South Miami, however, has overstepped normal governmental authority boundaries by mandating that homeowners install solar panels when building new homes or when making improvements or additions to existing homes.  Homeowners alone would have to bear the cost of installation, maintenance and increases in their homeowner’s insurance.  Homeowners would also be exposed to what many consider to be government sponsored predatory lenders as a way to fund the addition of the solar panels. 

“The role of government in ‘going green’ should be in informing residents of the latest advancements in efficiency and design so they are aware of options that would reduce the carbon footprint,” said Horace Feliu, former mayor and current mayoral candidate of City of South Miami.  “Government should not be mandating non-safety related initiatives to residents but rather providing incentives and waiving fees to promote change.  Building affordable homes is a concern since this new mandate will increase costs and keep many potential homeowners out of the market.”

The mandating of solar panels has been a hot topic issue with many South Miami residents. For many older residents the expected 25 years to break even on the investment is simply not worth the cost, especially given that the systems only have an expected life span of 30 years.  Older homes, which are slated for demolition and reconstruction, have also lost the value of replacement with the mandated solar array.

Feliu has thrown his hat into the Mayoral Ring once again for this and several other reasons that have him concerned as a long time resident of the city.  While he believes that the city of South Miami must reduce its carbon footprint, he believes in enabling not dictating to citizens with ways to go green.

“After 3 very successful terms as the Mayor of City of South Miami I think there is a ton of work that I began that I am looking forward to continuing in the correct manner, such as the green imitative,” said Feliu.  “This is something that will be important not just for me and my children but for my grandchildren and my great grandchildren if handled correctly and judiciously.”

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  1. In a year where our country has listened to politicians at the highest level lie or say one thing and then do another as if no one is paying attention, I would hope that in 2018 with the New Year upon us, that our public officials and those that aspire for public office, as is the case with Mr. Feliu, will always be honest with our citizens even if the truth hurts.

    The truth is that Ms. Martinez de Castro’s article is filled with biased opinions and lacks both substance and fact. The fact is that a new solar system pays for itself within seven years. This has been studied extensively by numerous industries, including the real estate industry. Before writing this article, I wish Ms. Martinez de Castro, a part-time realtor and a part-time public relations professional, would have referred to a recent real estate industry study conducted by the Colorado Energy Office whose report entitled The Impact of Photovoltaic Systems on Market Value & Marketability concluded that, and I quote, “The overwhelming majority of Realtors surveyed believe that owned PV systems increase the market value and marketability of homes.” Solar systems pay for themselves quickly, add value to one’s home, and are in greater demand with buyers than homes without solar, so says the real estate industry. And let’s not forget the fact that homes with a robust solar system enjoy little to no cost for electricity, another fact that was suspiciously left out of Ms. Martinez de Castro’s “article”.

    And speaking of facts, Mr. Feliu, who I believe is running for Mayor in South Miami, represented in this article that he is against the solar mandate. However, on July 18th he spoke in favor of it and, in fact, publicly stated that it should be expanded to include commercial properties. You can watch his comments by viewing the City of South Miami minutes video of that meeting at beginning at 13:24, but here is exactly what he said: “With regards to the solar panel ordinance, I’m in favor of solar panels. I created the Green Task Force many years ago to help find ways in which we can reduce our carbon footprint. The only thing that I find that is missing here, and I spoke to the boss, Walter, about including commercial properties. Commercial properties, as you know, per square foot require a higher amount of Kilowatt hours, so why not include commercial properties? South Miami is quickly becoming denser and pretty soon there is going to be more commercial properties, particularly in the downtown area, so why not include them as well? There’s no reason why since they have a pretty big rooftop.”

    I agree with Mr. Feliu, we should expand solar everywhere, but I also feel that it is important that leaders and those that aspire to be our leaders be honest at all times with the public and that they stick to the facts. The fact is the solar mandate in South Miami is a shining example that every resident should be proud about and that those who install such a system will greatly benefit from it.

  2. If you want to make comments about me you should really do your homework. I am a full time PR Professional, blogger and freelance writer. I have a broker’s license which is inactive and I do not currently practice real estate and have not for some time. This article is written from the perspective of Feliu who does not believe in MANDATING solar panels but believes that owners should be able to decide that for themselves what improvements and investments should be made on their homes. Solar panels are beneficial and over time more an more owners will adapt the panels when they CHOOSE. This article is NOT about me or my background which I would be more than happy to share with you as a opposed to you making poor assumptions and attacks. And I can promise you that Feliu is being honest and he is a very honest person on this and all matters even if you do not agree with it.

  3. Ms. Martinez de Castro, thank you for your response. For what it’s worth, one of your Facebook pages states under the “work” section “Real estate broker at Miami Real Estate Group and President and CEO at CMC Public Relations”, so perhaps your page should be updated as a “homework” project, but that’s really not the point. Your article is a political opinion piece, a biased advertisement and, as you yourself stated, is written “from the perspective of Mr. Feliu” but your relationship with the candidate, and that your intent was to share his perspective rather than accurately reporting on a topic of importance, should have been disclosed. Allow me, therefore, to directly ask you if you are working for the campaign and whether you are paid by the campaign or any political organization related to the campaign?

    Whether you are still in the real estate industry or not, as a real estate broker I would have hoped that you would have better known and presented the truth. Even more so, as a communications professional and freelance writer, much less a mom whose children will live in a world where sea rise threatens all of South Florida, I would think that the facts would be important to you. That is, unless, your intent is to write fiction.

    Speaking of, as you wrote, doing one’s homework, the facts are that that installing a solar power system pays for itself in about 7 years time (not the 25 years you ridiculously stated in your “article”), that the real estate industry has published reports concluding – not surprisingly – that buyers prefer homes with solar systems over those without one, that a home with a solar system produces little to no monthly power bill for its owner (and who wouldn’t love to not have a power bill every month?), and that installing a system on one’s home has little to no impact on one’s homeowners insurance. Of course none of your ‘article’ sighted any sources because, frankly, there are no reliable sources that would support the misleading, and untrue, statements that you made in support of your candidate so allow me to end with a couple of important facts.

    According to Dr. James Fenton, director of the Florida Solar Energy Center at the University of Central Florida, the state-funded research center created by the Florida Legislature, his research concluded that when one purchases a 1,500 square foot net-zero solar powered home (or makes an addition of that size powered with solar) costing $250,000 and finances both the house and solar panels with a mortgage, that Florida Power & Light (our local provider) customers would save $811 each and every year because of their solar power system.

    Furthermore, the South Miami law only impacts a fraction of homes in the City. A reading of the Ordinance shows that the law only impacts new homes or existing homes that are over 1,100 square feet in size and that are being renovated to the point where 75% or more of the home is being replaced or rebuilt. Homes under 1,100 square feet and those being rebuilt after a natural disaster, like Hurricane Irma, are exempt from the law. Also of note is that when the law was being debated over the past year, South Miami’s Building Director advised me that in its most recent year there had been only 1 permit for a new home, 6 the year before that, and 8 the year before that. He also told me that the impact on renovated homes would be minimal and stated, “We do not believe that there would be many of those.” As such, the law you are trying to misinform people about for political purposes will impact very, very few homes each year.

    In a year where we’ve all heard far too much about “fake news” it is my hope that our political leaders or those that aspire to lead will be honest with us. As I shared in my last post, Mr. Feliu spoke in SUPPORT of the solar mandate in July, 2017 and his comments can be found on the City of South Miami public meeting site. His only suggestion was that it should be EXPANDED TO INCLUDE COMMERCIAL PROPERTIES. As he said in July at a Council meeting, “The only thing that I find that is missing here, and I spoke to the boss, Walter, about including commercial properties. Commercial properties, as you know, per square foot require a higher amount of Kilowatt hours, so why not include commercial properties? South Miami is quickly becoming denser and pretty soon there is going to be more commercial properties, particularly in the downtown area, so why not include them as well? There’s no reason why since they have a pretty big rooftop”.

    I don’t know about you Ms. Martinez de Castro but even at my young age I’ve had enough of politicians misleading people or changing their positions for self-serving purposes. You are, of course, welcome to your perspective but ethically should disclose your “article” as an advertisement or opinion piece or whatever something so biased and inaccurate should be called. Making up fiction or more of those “alternative facts” we’ve all been reading far too much about this year is not what people deserve and that’s especially the case on an important topic related to whether or not your children and myself, and our children, will even be able to call South Florida home in the years ahead.


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