Coral Gables unfairly denying residents’ solar rights

By Ben Delman on December 19, 2018

Florida has a strong solar access law to protect our right to put solar on the roofs of our homes and businesses. Unfortunately, the City of Coral Gables has a consistent history of denying permits to install solar if the array faces the street. This includes systems with south-facing arrays. South-facing arrays are the most efficient direction to maximize solar production.

“Coral Gables wants to relocate solar panels to the north side or to the heavily shaded west and east sides of my house,” said Daniel Martinez, a Coral Gables homeowner. “They do not care what impact it will have on the efficiency of my system, on additional costs, and on its ability to generate sufficient power to recharge the backup batteries in the event of a power outage.”

According to the law, permitting rules must ensure solar installation is within the area required for its effective operation, that is, due south, or 45 degrees east or west of due south. The City insists it is exempt from this law.

Coral Gables’ unreasonable restrictions are substantially driving up the cost of solar for residents. These restrictions needlessly extend the payback time, diminishing solar’s power to be a financially-viable investment. These restrictions force residents to continue using fossil fuels when they want to power their homes with renewable energy. The city is denying residents the ability to use a safe and reliable energy source when the grid goes down. Lastly, such restrictions make it difficult to produce enough energy to adequately charge a battery and maintain power during a grid outage.

Martinez is working with other residents who oppose the unwritten ban as well as homeowners who also had their permits be denied by the city. He has reached out to elected officials to advocate for his rights, and recently expressed his concerns at the City’s Sustainability Advisory Board. The Board agreed to address the issue at their next meeting.

If you are a Coral Gables resident, click here to contact commissioners to urge them to change their restrictive anti-solar rules.