Solar Mandate in South Miami Raises Concerns
South Miami’s mandate for new homes and major home renovations to include solar panels is casting a long shadow for builders in the South Florida.
“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 solar 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.