Solar Ordinance jeopardizes individual rights of South Miami homeowners

Grant Miller, Publisher

Grant Miller, Publisher

Even though I believe in the clean and green benefits of solar energy, I do not believe the installation of solar devices should be a government-enforced mandate.

But that’s just what the South Miami City Commission will decide on July 12 when they vote on a ordinance that would require solar photovoltaic systems be installed on all newly constructed homes. Older homes would also be subjected to this requirement if more than 50 percent of its square footage is renovated.

Today, there is nothing preventing anyone from stepping up to install solar energy devices on the roof of their new or existing home. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. South Miami Mayor Stoddard and his solar co-op friends are ready to sell to homeowners solar panel systems at a discount. And, there are federal and state tax incentives for those who choose to install solar on a home or business – choose being the key word.

And while the cost of solar is decreasing, it still remains an out-of-reach luxury for many homeowners. Our county is facing an affordable-housing crisis and rising home prices are already shutting out many residents of South Miami. Hospitals, schools, and businesses will have a hard time attracting and retaining employees who will not be able to afford to live in the city where they work.

This isn’t about taking on the power company – and if you’ve read my columns in the past, you know I am not always a fan of Florida Power & Light. It’s about the individual rights of residents in South Miami.

Solar is an emotional choice, not an economic one. For Stoddard, solar is his personal crusade. But this ordinance crosses the line into forced conversion.

So no matter how much they claim the proposed ordinance would “benefit the health, safety, welfare, and resiliency of South Miami and its residents,” I say this proposed ordinance is simply an attempt to strip homeowners of their fundamental rights – and should not even be considered until all of our South Miami elected officials install solar on their own homes, homes they rent out, as well on all city buildings.

If you’d like to email me your thoughts, please do.

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7 Comments on "Solar Ordinance jeopardizes individual rights of South Miami homeowners"

  1. David White | July 3, 2017 at 3:13 pm | Reply

    Great article – this is a ”no-brainer’, solar panels should be optional. Renovations are already expensive for most working families and to impose or mandate additional costs makes no sense whatsoever.

  2. Well said, agree completely. Offer a city incentive to do it, on top of the state and federal tax breaks. No permit fees? Free city services for five years?

  3. cynthia paul | July 6, 2017 at 2:13 pm | Reply

    I love solar power but do not “require” me to do anything to my home.

  4. I am in favor of green energy, but a mandate is not the answer. Incentives/tax breaks for those who choose to do this is a better approach. This would add a significant cost to the already cost of building your home or renovating. Not everyone has an additional $15,000 + to put solar panels on their home. There are enough mandates out there, and we definitely do not need another one that translates into thousands of dollars.

  5. Max Fajardo | July 6, 2017 at 2:27 pm | Reply

    I agree with doing all we can to incentivize the use of alternative sources of power, like solar and wind, however I am not in any way for more government rules telling us what we should do. Instead of mandating it, provide incentives that are currently not available so homeowners will want to take advantage of additional savings current programs do not contain. Nothing prevents anyone today from installing energy devices in their home. What prevents people from committing to install them it cost. That cost is what government should focus on to motivate their constituents to consider a change. This is about choice and economics not about forcing people to act without a choice.

  6. The concept of having an alternative power source for your home or business is in deed a great idea and one that should be promoted in order to maintain open choice when deciding alternatives energy. On the same note, I add that Government enforced concept always fail and long-term degrade the services that the bureaucrats are attempting to improve.

    I strongly belief that enforcing a different power source on all new construction will have a negative domino effect on the local economy increasing the cost of acquisition of new and renovated properties and driving the middle class away from obtaining the American dream.

    Government officials should stay away from enforcing economic decisions and in fact is not the reason they get elected to serve the people.

  7. Solar panels need to be optional not mandated, otherwise the government should pay for them.

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