Last night the South Miami City Commission delayed voting on the solar mandate because of problems with the ordinance. FBAE is supporting the addition of safety and consumer protections to the ordinance to protect the residents of South Miami.

Consumer Protections Lacking in South Miami Solar Panel Mandate

by | Jun 20, 2017

South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard and his fellow city commissioners are convinced about two things – first, that their small 12,000 resident town is destined to be flooded by rising sea levels, and second, that their plan to force residents to buy expensive solar systems will somehow prevent the ocean from rising.

Nevermind that the very foundation of Stoddard’s deepest fear is based on questionable, ever-morphing scientific reports that can never seem to agree. Nevermind that sea levels rose in South Florida between 1930 and 1950, then dipped in the intervening years. Nevermind that naturally occuring, perfectly predictable king tides are to blame for virtually all of the current flooding and propaganda photographs touted by environmental activists who earnestly believe South Florida will eventually disappear underwater.

Nevermind all of that, because South Miami’s city commission is going to save the day with a solar panel mandate rammed down resident’s throats without any consumer protections in place, and without any concern for how poor residents can afford it, or the safety of first responders.

The South Miami City Commission has declared their solar mandate “reasonable and necessary because of local climatic, topological, and geological conditions.” The ordinance is due up for a second reading at tonights council meeting, and under city rules, a third reading could be waived, making it effective almost immediately.

Stoddard claims he’s been working on the ordinance for more than a year, but there’s been no public hearings and no public vote on the issue. And some residents aren’t happy about how things are shaping up.

“Housing and rental prices in South Miami are already too expensive. If a landlord is forced to pay $25,000 for solar panels, he’s going to make the renters pay. We need to be passing laws that make it easier for people to live in South Miami, not laws that make it more difficult,” said Rachel Walker, a South Miami resident. “The South Miami government hasn’t done any research about how this will affect the rents of South Miami. The city should be working to make our housing more affordable, not passing laws to make it more expensive.”

Indeed, the costs of solar ownership are one of the biggest reasons why solar hasn’t been widely adopted yet – consumers that do the math find they’ll actually lose money over the long run when they factor in the cost of maintenance, insurance costs, and the loss of efficiency over the lifetime of the panels, which can degrade in power output over the years. Worse, leased solar panels might actually lower the value of a property, according to the Washington Post.

Shady solar companies are starting to give the industry a bad name, by overpromising on performance, and understating the true costs of solar ownership.

But despite all the evidence, Stoddard insists poorer residents in South Miami will somehow experience a lower cost of living.

“Solar lowers the cost of living for low income residents.  Internal rate of return on solar panels in Miami is 9-10% higher than the mortgage API,” Stoddard says. “I know affordable housing builders who routinely install solar on the houses they build, for precisely this reason.”
But if solar systems make solid economic sense, is an ordinance even necessary in the first place? Won’t homeowners adopt solar on their own if the numbers add up and it makes solid financial sense? If solar is such a big and obvious win for everyone, why force consumers to buy it?
The simple fact is that solar isn’t a neccessity, like a front door, a roof, plumbing, or electricity. Solar systems are more like any other aesthetic option when building a new home, and in some circumstances, the tech might be right. But for Stoddard and his fellow city commissioners, driven by their fears of rising seas and the arrogant notion that they can stop it with an ordinance, are determined to make it a requirement.

Read original at: http://thecapitolist.com/consumer-protections-lacking-in-south-miami-solar-panel-mandate/