The recent decision by the South Miami Commission to create legislation mandating the installation of solar panels for new construction within the city resembles the old whimsical saying, “The difference between a cure and poison is the dosage.”
While we appreciate Mayor Philip Stoddard and the commission’s desire to advance a conversation about clean energy, it is the mandatory aspect of their legislation that is troubling. For starters, it essentially assumes that anyone who wants to build or renovate a home in South Miami wants to have solar panels.
Put a different way, if anyone who does not want to have solar panels, then they are not welcome to live in South Miami. This, I would argue, runs counter to our individual freedoms.
Second, it has the potential to increase considerably the cost to construct a new home and negatively affect new home construction within South Miami.
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Last, it attempts to insert government into an industry that is developing rapidly. Today’s solar panels are much more efficient than those of a decade ago. And with the acceleration of technology, solar panels may be obsolete in the near future. Moreover, clean energy technologies are being developed that could be alternatives to solar energy, while also mitigating the effects on the environment.
The Latin Builders Association has always been supportive of initiatives that move the region forward in all aspects of construction. The LBA was one of the earliest supporters of the Green Corridor initiative proposed by Ygrene, and we’ve advocated for safer and comprehensive construction standards to safeguard property owners and contractors.
We strongly encourage South Miami’s administration to consider providing incentives — rather than mandates — for clean energy and other forward-thinking construction initiatives.
Eric Montes de Oca,
Latin Builders Association, Miami