City of South Miami
6130 Sunset Drive
South Miami, FL 33143

 

South Miami Commission:

Family Businesses for Affordable Energy (FBAE) works to secure ordinances and legislation that keep energy costs low and protect consumers and family businesses. As members and volunteers in South Miami, we are concerned by the ordinance mandating solar requirements that is threatening our community because it is being hastily passed without necessary consumer protections and protections for affordable housing.

The ordinance, in its current form, will make South Miami even more unaffordable and unattainable. During the recent commission hearing, the Vice Mayor told one of our community members that “South Miami was unaffordable.” Additionally, the Mayor continued that statement by affirming that the ordinance places only a nominal expense on a million dollar home. The comments made from the dais fail to take into account the cost of this mandate on affordable housing. We do not, however, believe that the City Commission intended to overlook those of us who earn a livable wage because the Mayor tabled the bill as a result of concerns voiced at the hearing and made a commitment to address concerns before the ordinance is voted on.

As members of the South Miami community, we urge the Commission to remove the mandate from this solar ordinance, however if the mandate cannot be removed we as the Commission to review and amend the ordinance to address our concerns before passage:

COMMUNITY DEMANDS FOR SOUTH MIAMI ORDINANCE MANDATING SOLAR INSTALLATION

  1. Remove mandate on existing structures: The mandate on existing structures creates a burden that is too large and costly on homeowners who want to improve or expand their property. As members of the community, we support providing non-mandated incentives to encourage solar panels for remodels and expansions, but ask you to remove the mandate on existing structures.
  2. Remove mandate on all new, single family homes under 2000 square feet: The South Miami commission should work to ensure that residents have access to affordable housing. By mandating an additional expense of $25,000 (or more) on construction of smaller, more affordable homes, the Commission is reducing the number of affordable homes in South Miami and pricing lower and middle income families out of the home buying market.
  3. Provide residents with educational materials on preferred vendors and benefits of the ordinance as well as town halls to secure community buy-in. If the city mandates solar panel installation, as residents we expect more information on vendors, consumer protections, costs and best practices. Prior to passing the ordinance, local residents expect the City to prepare educational materials on consumer protections, preferred vendors and best practices for installing solar panels, as well as how homeowners can benefit the most from solar panels. We would also like the city to hold at least two town halls on the ordinance and solar installation best practices prior to passage of the ordinance to secure community understanding and buy-in.
  4. Provide residents with actual costs and benefits of solar panels in South Miami. The city has provided payback models and financial benefit for the solar ordinance, but those models are based on California energy prices and do not take into account Florida’s energy costs or the higher costs of insuring the panels using high costs of insurance in Florida. We would like a specific study done on the costs and benefits to South Miami homeowners done by the city – we do not think you should rely on a California cost and benefit model to justify the financials in South Miami.

It is our hope that you will address the concerns in the ordinance mandating solar requirements that are threatening our community. This ordinance should not be hastily passed without taking into consideration affordable housing in South Miami, as well as necessary safety and consumer protections.

Respectfully,

South Miami Chapter
Family Businesses For Affordable Energy

Cc: City of South Miami Commission
City of South Miami City Clerk