The next “crop” from Miami- Dade’s disappearing farmlands may be electricity.
“Sales of solar power could be one answer to save our agricultural lands from continuing residential and commercial development,” Miami-Dade District 9 Commissioner Dennis C. Moss told a West Kendall audience on July 31.
Spurred by the plight of everincreasing encroachment of new tract home building and shopping center development in southwestern Miami-Dade, Moss sponsored and received commission approval in January for a six-month feasibility study of solar installations suitable for small or large county acreages.
The study is intended to identify sources of existing assistance programs as well as tax exemptions that would encourage small Miami-Dade agricultural landholders to consider establishing green energy farms.
“This could be an alternative way to produce and sell power to Florida Power and Light,” he said during at a Miami-Dade Police Hammocks District Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting.
“Solar panels taking up only a portion of an agriculturally zoned property could be used for farming needs with any excess sold for a profit to the power company,” Moss said.
Grid-supply systems directly feed electricity from local solar arrays into a regional power infrastructure, he explained. Such panel installations bring back memories of panel installations called “paint farms” that tested mixing durability on vacant fields in southwestern Miami-Dade.
Other comments by Moss on southwest Miami Dade growth:
• Location of the AnsaldoBreda (Italian corporation) company’s U.S. headquarters in southwest Miami-Dade is expected to add 500-600 new jobs. The Italian firm will replace current Metrorail trains with a modernized fleet in 2015.
• Negotiations to make South Dade a tourist destination center continue with the possibility of building a Universal Studiosstyle theme park as an attraction adjacent to ZooMiami.
• An attractive village center similar to Cocowalk or Merrick Park is planned for acreage next to the South Dade Government Center in Cutler Bay.
• Development of new farmland production of wines by use of imported grapes as well as native Florida fruits as popularized by Schnebley’s Winery of Homestead for Homestead and Redland farm areas.
• Promoting the annual Air Show at Homestead Air Reserve Base and NASCAR racing at Homestead Speedway can attract “Super Bowl-like” crowds to boost local tourism.
• A new direct route connector to ZooMiami off the Shula Expressway (SR 874) is under study by Florida’s Turnpike and the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority.
Moss also said he would initiate and support efforts to have libraries utilize space in Miami-Dade’s public high schools during off hours if the FY 2013-14 budget results in closures of 16 county facilities.
The commissioner had special praise for the Miami-Dade Police Department, noting how effectively the local force of 5,000 covers nearly 2,000 square miles compared to Chicago’s 14,000 covering 234 square miles.