As meteorologists representing the largest metropolitan areas in Florida, we get a close and personal view of the weather conditions affecting our state, from thunderstorms to hurricanes and everything in between. The only constant is the sun. It rarely stays cloudy for very long here in Florida where we enjoy hundreds of sunny days a year.
So it makes sense to have solar panels in a climate like ours. Last year’s record-breaking hurricane season demonstrates that Florida is no stranger to the increasing frequency and severity of hurricanes, thunderstorms, floods and other extreme weather events. From coastal erosion to sea level rise, these events are wreaking havoc on our state’s pristine shores, homes, businesses and the strength of our entire economy.
This, and the growing demand for electricity, is why it is essential for Florida to invest in the expansion and development of our clean energy infrastructure. Florida has the opportunity to become a leader in solar generation. With the reduction of coal-fired power plants, there has never been a more important time to expand our energy sources to further diversify into the clean energy sector.
We have both installed solar panels in our homes to help reduce our personal consumption of electricity produced from fossil fuel sources while increasing the amount of clean, renewable solar energy our state is able to produce. If you are able to add solar power to your home, we encourage you to educate yourself as well. One of us, Brian, couldn’t afford solar power years ago, but now that the price has come down he has been able to buy his solar panels for less than that. that he was paying for his electricity bill. At this point, it became obvious to go solar.
Going solar doesn’t have to be a daunting process. We strongly recommend that you contact the national association Solar United Neighbors, which will help you navigate it and save you money. We both used their “cooperative” model to make solar more affordable and we were supported throughout the process.
While we can all do our part, we also need policymakers to focus on sustainability and resilience across the spectrum of U.S. infrastructure. As a state and as a nation, we need to focus more on the development of our clean and renewable energy resources.
Investments in renewable energy will produce short-term benefits, including creating jobs in the 21st century, stimulating economic growth in our communities, and supporting local businesses in the clean energy economy. Equally important, however, are the long-term benefits, including reduced carbon emissions, cleaner air and water, and a healthier, more sustainable planet for future generations.
Florida has enormous potential to develop its renewable and abundantly available solar energy. This represents an invaluable opportunity to help Florida workers who have lost their jobs due to the economic downturn following the pandemic to enter the well-paid clean energy workforce. This will help strengthen Florida communities while reducing our environmental impact.
Our representatives in Tallahassee and in Congress have a golden opportunity to come up with bold, forward-thinking solutions that will invest in modernizing and updating our entire power grid infrastructure to support continued development and advancement. of clean, renewable energy production here in Florida and across the country.
So let’s move on to America’s clean energy infrastructure. There’s no time to lose.
Brian McClure is a meteorologist at Bay News 9 Tampa Bay. John Morales is a meteorologist at NBC 6 Miami.