South Miami has just joined the (short) list of US cities that make solar panel installation mandatory for new homes and for those with major renovations. The settlement, unprecedented so far in the state of Florida, was made possible by the initiative of a high school student, who proposed it and who was invited to participate in the drafting of the ordinance.
The new regulation was approved on July 18, but its history goes back further. It started exactly when 16-year-old high school student Delaney Reynolds Then he learned the extent to which San Francisco began requiring solar installations in new buildings 10 stories or less in 2016.
“We (the young) will inherit this disaster and we will also be the ones who will solve it”, assures the young woman, who after the San Francisco initiative, a pioneer in the United States, he went by letter to half a dozen towns from the region where she resided to demand similar measures. The first to respond was South Miami.
Philip Stoddard, mayor of the city, professor of biology at Florida International University and owner of a house equipped with solar installations, invited the young student to participate in the drafting of the ordinance, which was approved despite the opposition from the organization Family Businesses for Affordable Energy.
Although the mayor himself admitted that the impact of the regulations will be low, since around ten houses are built in the town each year, the obligation to install solar panels will take effect in September. In addition to being applicable to new construction, which they will need 75 square feet (nearly 23 meters) of solar panels per 1000 of roof Along with sun exposure, the standard also affects homes that will undergo deep renovations (75%) or extensions for the same percentage.
The bond established in South Miami thanks to the initiative of this young woman – who had previously promoted her own NGO against climate change in South Florida, The Sink or Swim project– could be extended to other cities like St. Petersburg and Orlando, also in Florida. This type of initiative in favor of the energy transition in the United States is therefore progressing, even if it is for the moment implemented only in a few cities of the country, with San Francisco as the symbol and the maximum driving force.