The South Miami City Commission approved Tuesday night a measure that requires new homes to be installed with solar panels. The measure passed in a 4-1 vote.
The new law requires owners of new homes larger than 1,100 square feet -- including single-family homes, townhouses and multi-story residential buildings -- to install solar panels. It also applies to owners who expand their homes by 75 percent or greater in size. The requirement takes effect in September.
South Miami becomes the fourth U.S. city that requires new homes to be installed with solar panels. San Francisco and two small cities in California have similar renewable energy building laws.
"We're concerned about the future of children and grandchildren," said Mayor Philip Stoddard. "So, the question becomes what can we do today to give our kids and our grandchildren an better future in the face of climate change and sea-level rise and we have to do everything we can." The mayor along with supporters of the law say it will help cut costs.
But, not everyone agrees. Commissioner Josh Liebman was the only "no" vote. He along with Family Businesses for Affordable Energy argue the measure it will increase costs for residents.
"This is going to raise the average cost of the home," said Commissioner Liebman.
The group says poor residents will be greatly affected by the ordinance. Other opponents say solar panels should be a personal choice, not a mandate.