Solar Power and Florida – Potential, Problems, and Progress

Living in the Sun and Feeling the Heat

Here we are in Miami Shores, where the village motto is VIVENTES IN SOLE – literally, living in the sun.  And we’re not taking advantage of it!  Well, some of you already are – thank you – but this is something we need to do in much greater numbers – for both ourselves and our children – if we want to leave a world humans can continue to live, love, and learn – to flourish – for many generations to come.

One of the most impactful things we can do right now to reduce our carbon footprint is to use solar power to meet our electricity needs.  We have to attack this problem on multiple fronts – we’ve already baked in enough future sea level rise that we’re going to have to make enormous and imaginative infrastructure investment for years to come – but we also need to act now to begin to contain and reduce the amount of heat-trapping gasses we have in the atmosphere.  Here’s a conservative estimate of how the projected sea level rise will impact our neighborhood by 2050 – just a few years over 30 years from now –  if we don’t do anything at all (from NOAA at https://coast.noaa.gov):

You can access the tool that created this map here.

Those light blue areas are under water in this scenario.  Here in Miami Shores, we already have a pump that helps to keep that little area where 93rd street just about reaches the bay; we are also about to build a sea wall on the little spur canal you see pouring over into the neighborhood between the canal and 107th street.  Now imagine king tides, heavy rains, storm surges – or, all three at the same time.  We’ve got some work to do.

Florida is not taking advantage of its solar power potential – that is clear:

2017 United States Solar Power Rankings

Florida is the most baffling of all the states when it comes to solar. It’s literally called “The Sunshine State,” yet it bans third-party solar (PPAs), and was this year subjected to a shameful, misleading solar ballot initiative put forth by a utility-backed political group. Thankfully, that measure was defeated. Hopefully, Florida voters have been awakened to the shenanigans going on in their state’s energy markets. We really hope you figure this one out, Floridians, and stop big utilities from building fossil fuel plants on your dime while denying you the most basic of low-cost solar choice. Kick out those legislators and demand that the Sunshine State not be in the bottom half of the country for solar policy.

So what is a PPA, anyway?  A Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) can be described as an agreement where “an installer/developer builds a solar system on a customer’s property for free and then the developer sells the power to the customer.”  Politifact Florida explains it in this write up.  Here’s an excerpt:

While solar has been expanding nationally, Florida isn’t a solar leader: it ranks third in solar capacity but 13th in installations, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. Solar represents less than 1 percent of Florida’s energy generation, and the state projects only a tiny fraction of percentage growth over the next decade [emphasis added].

In November, the Public Service Commission approved allowing utilities to end solar rebates in 2015 and gut energy efficiency goals by 90 percent, because the utilities claimed neither is “cost-effective.”

This guide from Broward County explains why local government here in South Florida is typically in favor of PPAs:

The advantage of a PPA is that it allows the property owner to obtain renewable energy without paying the up-front costs associated with PV or worrying about maintenance of the system.  The relationship is analogous to leasing a car in which someone else owns and maintains the vehicle, and you only pay for the miles that you actually drive.

Florida law currently prohibits anyone other than an investor-owned or publicly-owned utility from selling electricity to customers, which prevents the use of Power Purchase Agreements.

Some progress:

Fortunately for us all, Amendment 1 was not passed last year.  However, the other solar power related ballot initiative did pass, as summarized in this headline from the Floridians for Solar Choice PAC web site:  Pro Solar Amendment 4 Signed Into Law by Governor Scott.  That’s where the “A” in the property tax exemption from the above scorecard comes from:

Tallahassee, Fla. (June 16, 2017)  – Today Florida Governor Rick Scott signed into law implementing legislation for the pro-solar Amendment 4, which was unanimously placed on the ballot by the Florida Legislature in 2016, passed overwhelmingly by 73% of the vote on the August 2016 primary ballot and now unanimously approved in the recently concluded session. The bill removes burdensome taxes on solar installations by exempting 80% of their value from the tangible personal property tax. It also exempts 80% of the value of a solar installation from the assessment of real property taxes for commercial properties.

Going Solar at Home

I’m personally currently in the process of re-roofing my house (just signed a contract), after which we’re going to install a solar power system on top of.  We’re planning in install a system that will create a net power usage of zero – we’ll be drawing power from the utilities at night and on cloudy days, but I’m expecting that we’ll generate an excess of power during sunny days that will make up for that based on the design specifications.

It’s a small start, but I sincerely hope more and more of our neighbors, both here in Miami Shores, and across South Florida, begin tapping the solar power potential that our beautiful sun provides us with in such abundance.

Ygrene is one way to go if you need help financing a solar power solution for your home – click here to learn more about Ygrene and how this program may be a good fit for you.  Ygrene financing is funded through the Miami-Dade Green Corridor PACE District (click here for more info).

I’m going to share my experience with the solar power system – from permitting, to installation, to utilization – on this blog as we get started.  It’s time to start a wider discussion on solar power and our future – now.  We’re going to face an incredible array of challenges as we head into the next several decades; we should embrace solar power now when the economy of doing so is so clear.  The solutions available today already have short payback periods, and there are widely available financing options and large tax credits – when you factor in the costs of *not* taking action now, I think it’s an easy choice.

Much, much more to come!

Miami Shores Village Mobile App

Going to check this out today – Miami Shores Village partnered with Publicstuff to create a mobile app for Miami Shores.

For iPhone: https://itunes.apple.com/…/my-msv-public-stuff/id1121429658…

For Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details…

From the Monthly Newsletter:

MyMSV was launched in August 2016 as an official
platform for residents to access their government in a single
location. MYMSV is a mobile app for residents to submit
service requests through their smartphones and online.
MyMSV is a source of quick information. It can transform the
way residents interact with the Village and find information.
Residents may access important Village information through
in-app tools like the website, announcements, community
calendar, public people and Council meetings.
Residents can submit service requests related to Code
Compliance, Police Department issues like suspicious activity,
Recreation issues such as equipment repair, Sanitation issues
like missed garbage pickup, Streets issues such as potholes
or tree trimming and general requests. By adopting the
PublicStuff platform, the Village hopes to improve resident
communications and improve service delivery. On the
backend, appropriate staff responds to submitted requests
through a customized workflow management system.
Miami Shores Village launched the application in
partnership with PublicStuff, an innovative civic software
company that helps residents and local governments connect
to improve the quality of life in their communities.
The instantaneous nature of the app is a benefit for the
Village as it furthers its commitment to being responsive to
the needs of the community. This is a way to have residents
help solve problems and issues.

To get started, download MyMSV today! The MyMSV
Public Stuff app is available for free in both the iTunes app
store and the Android Google Play store. To submit a service
request online, visit www.publicstuff.com/submit and enter
Miami Shores Village.

Let us know what else you’d like to see in
your official MyMSV app!

Send questions and feedback to keeleye@msvfl.gov.

Miami Shores Village Board Vacancies

Miami Shores Village needs your service – there are critically important Board vacancies that we’re trying to fill by June:

Library Board of Trustees (1 Vacancy)
Doctors Charter School Board (4 Vacancies)

These Board vacancies will be appointed during the first
meeting of June this year. If you are interested in completing
an application, please contact the Village Clerk, Barbara Estep,
at 305-762-4851 or download the application online at
www.miamishoresvillage.com. The application deadline for
submission is Tuesday, May 30th.

Thank YOU for Your Support – 2nd Place Finish!

The 2017 Miami Shores Election Season has come to a close – the votes have been cast and tallied and the results have been published.

MIAMI SHORES: VILLAGE COUNCIL

6 of 6 Precincts Reporting

Percent Votes
Sean Brady
Percent of total votes
18.55% 1,094
Bill Davis
Percent of total votes
13.99% 825
Liangy Fernandez-Calli
Percent of total votes
17.05% 1,005
Mac Glinn
Percent of total votes
23.12% 1,363
Eddie Lewis
Percent of total votes
9.53% 562
Jonathan Meltz
Percent of total votes
17.76% 1,047
5,896
April 18, 2017 – Miami Shores Village Council and Special Elections  4/18/2017 7:36:44 PM EDT
MIAMI SHORES: VILLAGE COUNCIL
Precinct Reporting = Precinct Reporting
Dade Precinct Detail
Precinct Sean Brady Bill Davis Liangy Fernandez-Calli Mac Glinn Eddie Lewis Jonathan Meltz Total
Precinct Reporting 154 134 95 182 155 88 134 788
Precinct Reporting 155 211 123 224 243 143 137 1,081
Precinct Reporting 156 362 286 304 408 147 327 1,834
Precinct Reporting 157 250 173 192 381 108 293 1,397
Precinct Reporting 158 66 35 45 54 25 43 268
Precinct Reporting 179 71 113 58 122 51 113 528
Total: 1,094 825 1,005 1,363 562 1,047 5,896

Registered Voters: 7,115
Ballots Cast: 2,452
Voter Turnout: 34.46 %

Precinct Map:

Full details available here:

http://results.enr.clarityelections.com/FL/Dade/68938/185917/en/summary.html

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) For our Haitian Brothers and Sisters

This is something that is important to me and I know important to many members of our community.

From friend and neighbor Joseph A. Beauvil:

“Attached is a letter written by Senators Marco Rubio, Bill Nelson and 8 Members of Congress urging Homeland Secretary John Kelly to renew TPS for Haitians after I along with some leaders in the Haitian Community initiated a movement to have people call the offices of Senator Rubio, Senator Nelson, and Rep. Frederica Wilson on March 21, 2017 on the issue. Unfortunately, Secretary Kelly has not responded yet to that letter. This is the reason why we are continuing with the movement to have people call on April 18 continuously members of Congress to ask Secretary Kelly and President Trump to renew TPS for Haitians.”

So please – on Election Day – come out and vote *and* let your congresspeople hear your voice on this issue. More to come.

Here is the actual letter – you can click on it to see it full-sized:

Upcoming Events

Here is a list of upcoming events – I hope to see you at one or more of the following:

Upcoming Events:

Unite Miami Shores Candidate Forum: April 6th – 7 pm at the MTC Miami Shores (9806 NE 2nd Ave)

Sean Brady for Miami Shores Council Meet & Greet Rally – Saturday April 8th – 11 am 9526 NE 2nd Ave #104 (Enter from the alley)

Proper Block Party – Sunday April 9th – 2pm to 5pm – 113 NW 106th Street, Miami Shores

Election Day – Tuesday April 18th – All day at the Miami Shores Community Center

Thanks,

Sean