A new law requiring all new homes built in the city to have solar panels, making South Miami the first city outside California to support such an initiative.

Under the new law passed on 18 July 2017 from South Miami City Commission, new residential construction would require 175 square feet of solar panels to be installed per 1,000 square feet of sunlit roof area, or 2.75 kW per 1,000 square feet of living space, whichever is less.

Home renovations that replace more than 75 per cent of the premise, or extend the structure by more than 75 per cent will have to comply too.

Exceptions are in place, for example if the house is to be built under existing trees.

South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard, a biology professor at Florida International University said: “Solar reduces the cost of home ownership, it makes houses sell faster, it returns more to a builder, it makes local jobs, and most importantly, it reduces carbon emissions today to help our children and grandchildren have a better future tomorrow”.

He also expressed concerns over climate change consequences and the risks that South Miami has to mitigate, especially as sea levels rise.

"We’re down in South Florida where climate change and sea level rise are existential threats, so we’re looking for every opportunity to promote renewable energy," Stoddard said. "It’s carbon reduction, plain and simple. We have a pledge for carbon neutrality. We support the Paris Climate Agreement."

Commissioner Josh Liebman dissented, saying that he is not against solar, but he supports “the freedom of choice”, also expressing concerns over the fact that nearly 7 percent of the city’s budget comes from fees the utility pays to South Miami.

“So even if we were going to give up one-sixth of that, it would still be 1 percent of our budget. Where is the substitute?”

Jeremy Forestone, Director of the Center for Carbon-free Power Integration at the University of Delaware expressed its satisfaction with the decision, saying that at a time when the Federal Government has stepped back from advocating for renewable energy, action on the local level is critical.

The largest city in the country to mandate rooftop solar panels so far is San Francisco, which passed the respective law in January 2017.

Other cities in California that have mandated solar panels in new buildings are Culver City, San Mateo, Lancaster, Sebastopol and Santa Monica.

Read more: South Miami makes solar PV panels mandatory for...

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has unanimously approved investments worth $660m for a total 500MW of solar projects to be located on Benban solar complex in Egypt.

The funds will be used to finance 13 large-scale PV projects being developed from both public and private companies.

Mouayed Makhlouf, IFC Director for the Middle East and North Africa said: “This landmark investment demonstrates that when you have the right reform policies, and a government willing to allow greater involvement by the private sector, you can attract investors in every sector, including infrastructure” adding “Investments like these are the nucleus for economic growth, which is needed in Egypt”.

The projects will be part of the 2GW national goal through Egypt’s landmark solar Feed-in Tariff (FiT) programme, aiming to harvest the country’s rich solar potential and develop the largest solar photovoltaic generation park in the world.

The 2 GW goal will be achieved through the development of 40 individual solar projects of approximately 50 MW each and help Egypt meet its target to source 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Egypt’s solar FiT programme, will include projects financed by several development institutions like the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Proparco and is expected to be one of the largest foreign direct investments in years.

Last June, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) approved a $500m package for 13 large-scale PV projects, as part of a 16-projects plant of 750MW total capacity.

Harry Boyd- Carpenter, Head of Power and Energy at the EBRD “We have been working with the Egyptian authorities since 2014 to help them fulfil their ambitious goals in this area. We are delighted now to be in a position to commit very significant financing to projects, which we expect to start construction before the end of 2017”.

The trust of Development Institutions to Egypt is expected to catalyse a further debt and equity inflow of $2 billion, highlighting Egypt's re-emergence as an attractive investment destination.

The news came along despite Egypt’s announcement last December to reduce the FiT rate for PV projects to US$0.084 and US$0.078/kWh.

At the time, several power project developers claimed that the new rates would put in question the viability of several projects, although the new FiT price level is in line to rates seen in other regional markets.

Read more: Egypt closer to build the world’s largest PV...



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