South Miami is Latest U.S. City to Require Solar Panels on New Homes

By Ayana Byrd Jul 20, 2017

South Miami, Florida, is now the fourth American city to require that solar panels be installed on all new homes. San Francisco, Sebastopol and Lancaster—all located in California—are the other three municipalities with this law.

Inside Climate News reports that in a 4-1 vote on Tuesday (July 17), the South Miami City Commission approved the measure, which requires all new single-family residences larger than 1100-square feet to be constructed with solar panels. Owners expanding existing homes by 75 percent or more must also comply.

"We’re concerned about the future of children and grandchildren," said Mayor Philip Stoddard, as reported by NBC Miami. "So, the question becomes what can we do today to give our kids and our grandchildren a better future in the face of climate change and sea-level rise and we have to do everything we can." 

The mayor believes it will not only benefit the environment, but also the homeowners of South Miami by lowering their energy bills. South Miami is a located in Miami-Dade County and has a population that is 43 percent Latinx population and 18 percent Black.

Opponents to the law include the anti-government regulation organization Family Businesses for Affordable Energy, which argues, according to NBC Miami, that installation will be cost prohibitive for lower-income families. "This is going to raise the average cost of the home," said Commissioner Josh Liebman, the sole “no” vote on the measure.

The law goes into effect on September 18.