How one teenager got a city to pass new solar rules

by Eileen Mignoni, Yale Climate Connection

Rooftop solar panels are becoming a common sight in South Miami, in part because of the efforts of one teen. Eighteen-year-old Miami native Delaney Reynolds is a freshman at the University of Miami. Two years ago, she learned that several cities in California have laws that mandate rooftop solar panels on new homes.

Reynolds: “I thought that that was an excellent idea for our state, especially because we’re the so-called sunshine state. I figured we have to make something like this here in south Florida.”

Reynolds sent a letter proposing the idea to almost a dozen mayors. South Miami’s Mayor Phillip Stoddard responded and offered to mentor her through the process of drafting the ordinance. Together, they reworked the California laws to fit local construction codes.

Last July, South Miami passed the ordinance, and it took effect in September. Now, any new homes built in the city – as well as major renovations – must include solar panels.

Reynolds: “It’s a small step that will hopefully inspire other cities. It’s my goal to see the Sunshine State become the ‘Solar State’.”


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