Solar Mandate in South Miami Raises Concerns

Filed in Codes and Regulations, Environmental by on July 25, 2017 5 Comments

solar panelSouth Miami’s mandate for new homes and major home renovations to include solar panels is casting a long shadow for builders in the Sunshine State.

“We definitely value renewable energy, but we want these measures to be voluntary,” said Truly Burton, executive vice president of the Builders Association of South Florida (BASF).

Slated to go into effect Sept. 18, the requirement calls for homes to have 175 square feet of photovoltaics for every 1,000 square feet of roof area, unless there is excessive shade.

The mandate is the first of its kind in Florida, but several California cities already require rooftop solar panels on new homes. These include Lancaster, Sebastopol, Santa Monica and San Francisco. Other places are expected to join the ranks.

Burton was also unhappy that officials adopted the mandate through the municipal code rather than trying to add it to the state’s building code. The process was confusing and undermined the integrity of the Florida Building Commission and Florida Building Code, she said.

Instead of a mandate, Burton suggested tax incentives to encourage consumers to install sustainable features in their homes.

BASF’s likely next move, said Burton, will be to ask codes officials to review the requirement and evaluate whether it should, in fact, have gone with the building code adoption process.

“We haven’t seen the end of this yet,” she said.

For more information on NAHB’s green building initiatives, contact Jaclyn Toole.

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Comments (5)

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  1. Randy Melvin says:

    The fundamental underlying issue here is as an important as it gets and I hope the National Association of Home Builders pulls out all stops to support the Building Association of South Florida to challenge and repeal this legislative solar mandate. Apparently I missed the liberty carve out in the declaration of independence for home buyers and builders in Miami. Soon the government will be making all of the decisions as to where and how we build and live and the remnants of our free market, which built the most benevolent and prosperous country in history of mankind, will be gone. That is of course unless we once again rise to the occasion to protect it.

    • LD says:

      Yes great point. To add to what you’ve said, I’m also concerned government is to slow and unresponsive to evolution in the market. If and when solar becomes obsolete, inadequate or otherwise outmoded, they will be to slow or unresponsive in eliminating this rule. We are already seeing Wind outmode Solar in many parts of the nation. A similar example would be ethanol subsidies. We’ve seen ethanol be reevaluated and become outdated over the past 10 years and this subsidy was championed by the same big-government environmentalists back when it was first created.

      The environmentalist movement will not succeed in a substantial way until they correct their world view. The market is the only powerful-enough force to accomplish their goals. Government may be able to make minor gains but they are almost always negligible in the grand scheme of things without the force of market justice.

      Another good example is the UK planning to ban fossil fuels vehicles by 2040. I just laughed, the majority of market analysts believe fossil-fuel vehicles will disappear well before that.

  2. Mark Lymer says:

    i can see pv on roof tops and homeowners will love their energy bills. but don’t they have hurricanes in florida once in a while? don’t think current pv installation is up to that standard so far….

  3. Gary says:

    South Florida including Miami will eventually be uder water from rising sea levels without billions for sea walls, due to climate disruption on top of hurricanes. Wind isn’t practical for distributed generation as rooftop solar. Still probably better to do some mitigation in reducing fossil fuel use, admittedly a small step. I understand nobody likes to be told what to do. I’d opine NAHB accept the goal but work to make the process efficient. My 2 cents.

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