South Miami politicians have passed a law requiring new roofs to include solar panels, putting politically correct ideology ahead of both liberty and reason.
Florida is a beautiful state. Having lived there for a few years, I fell in love with the Sunshine State, as you were close to major metropolitan areas as well as places that seem to not changed since the Jurassic Period. It is a favorite destination for tourism and retirement; unique in every capacity you can imagine, especially politics. And, South Miami seems to have gone wild in that regard.
Florida has also earned the nickname Flori-duh as so many unbelievable things happens in the state. When I lived there and happened to read a crazy news story, I was, more often than not, surprised if it happens outside the state. California is much the same way, of course, so maybe it’s the sun. That old feeling came back the other day, when I came across a story that describes how South Miami is making solar panels a requirement by law for all new homes built (and some renovations) in this somewhat upscale community. It calls itself the “City of Pleasant Living” but has apparently decided to go wild in a politically correct by mandating solar.
The new requirements dictate that new residential construction must have 175 square feet of solar panels to be installed for every 1,000 square feet of sunlit roof area, or 2.75 kw per 1,000 square feet of living space, whichever is less. What is just as surprising is that the ordinance passed with a 4-1 vote – meaning that only one person had either the intestinal fortitude to stand up or the foresight to realize how this is prohibitive to new construction.
South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard, a biology professor at Florida International University, has been lobbying for this law for years (another academic seeking power to impose his theories). He has a home with solar and an electric car (and probably yells at the barista for writing his name with two “L’s”) so he can rightfully be proud of himself for walking the walk, not everyone is going to be able to make this jump, nor should they be required to do so.
The Latin Builders Association is not happy about this new requirement. Writing an Op-Ed in the Miami Herald, Ric Montes De Oca, President-Elect of the Association, summarized this ruling by saying that “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.” He thinks the city should incentivize going solar rather than adding anywhere from $10,000 – $15,000 to the costs of a new home construction by requirement.
Another citizen, Matthew Barket, said:
“I am a really big fan of technology in all aspects — sustainable energy, computers, you name it — and I’ve advocated for these types of measures before,” he said. “The issue is really a cost benefit analysis here. I think you are not going to receive the type of return on your investment that’s being portrayed.”
This is all happening as Florida fights the same battles over fracking that we have witnessed in California and Colorado. Activist groups such as Food and Water Watch have been spreading the usual lies and misconceptions to further scaremonger the issue and other Floridians. Furthermore, these groups are claiming tourism will be negatively affected by fracking. It reminds me of what happened in Western Maryland, the forgotten part of my new state.
What is being overlooked is how much fracking is already saving the state. Have you ever been to Florida in the summer months? The humidity and heat are intense and there is no heavenly gift more precious than an air conditioner – especially to tourists who are not acclimated to the climate. Florida is the fifth-largest energy consumer in the US and it imports a lot of natural gas via pipelines from other states.
It takes a lot of energy to keep Florida cool. This is not to mention the $4.00 plus gas I was was paying at the end of my time in the state, preventing many would-be tourists to enjoy a stay-cation instead. Fracking solved that modern-day gas crisis, increasing tourism.
Technology is rapidly improving on both the fracking and solar fronts. Those mandatory solar panels will not spend their useful lives in the Sunshine state reducing people’s energy bills, but will rather end up in a landfill. Florida has an opportunity to boost their economy while reducing their carbon footprint with more natural gas use. The answer is not gentrification by making new construction more expensive and impeding on personal freedoms – at least give them a choice; maybe they would prefer wind.
Editor’s Note: KJ makes an excellent point in asking where the liberty and freedom is in mandating solar panels on every roof. There’s also the foolishness of imposing one energy solution over others. Neither wind nor solar will provide the energy needed when its needed. Energy must be dispatchable to do that and that’s where natural gas comes in as the most economical and clean method of delivering it. Mandating solar makes it mo re costly to do that while also locking in rapidly aging technology and making housing less affordable. There’s no common sense, science or reason behind this new South Miami ordinance. It’s political correctness and nothing more — political correctness gone wild.