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Opportunity Miami

Pioneering Miami’s solar-powered future

This is the October 11, 2022 edition of the Opportunity Miami newsletter written by Matt Haggman, which we send every Tuesday. to subscribe to get our weekly updates in your inbox.

Featured Content

On Site with Melissa Uribe Gil of Costex Corporation

Next time you’re flying into Miami International Airport from the west, look down.

As your plane flies over the Everglades and then the residential subdivisions, office parks, and warehouses of Doral and west Miami-Dade County, you’ll see one flat roof after another.

It’s not hard to imagine a future where those acres of flat roofs are covered with solar panels powering each of the buildings with renewable energy. But, for one Miami company, that isn’t the future — it’s today.

Two years ago, , which sells replacement parts for heavy machinery like tractors and bulldozers, built a giant new headquarters and warehouse northwest of Miami International Airport. Last year, it completed the installation of more than 4,000 solar panels on the roof of its new 450,000-square-foot building.

On any given day, the solar panels power 90 to 100 percent of Costex’s energy usage. But, even more importantly, it demonstrates that it can be done — that buildings today in Miami, even large industrial buildings, can be powered by solar energy. In doing so, building a clean energy future and reaping the economic benefits too.

“It’s amazing to use the sun’s power to fully power an entire building of this scope where there is manufacturing, where there is machinery, where there is distribution,” said , who is Executive Vice President of Costex and spearheaded the company’s push into solar energy.

“You have an enormous responsibility as a company to reduce your carbon imprint and a company of this size that manufactures here has enormous energy costs, so it was definitely a responsibility we had to take seriously.”

Uribe Gil joined us for our latest On Site, which are short-form videos where we hear directly from entrepreneurs in the places they work about how they are solving problems critical to Miami’s future. You can watch it :

Costex, which operates under the brand name CTP, is a quintessential Miami story. The company was founded by Gil’s parents, Gilberto and Teresa Uribe, who moved to Miami from Colombia in 1980 “in search of the American dream,” Uribe Gil said. Today, the business exports to more than 150 countries worldwide.

Now, with Uribe Gil in a leadership role alongside her parents, it’s built a sleek, modern headquarters with everything from classrooms for employees to build new skills, and recreational areas with couches and ping pong tables for workers to enjoy during breaks. There is even an art studio on its campus.

Costex also implemented other energy-saving tools in its new facility, including 80 skylights that allow for natural light to come in; 24 industrial-grade fans on the roof of the warehouse; motion sensor lights; and double-paned windows that allow for maximum cooling inside. “We’re fully invested in whatever actions we do to make sure that we’re energy conscious and efficient,” Uribe Gil added.

But it’s the decision to go all-in with solar to power the large facility that especially distinguishes Costex’s new home.

By Costex’s estimate, at the time of completion, its solar roof ranked as the second largest in Miami-Dade County after

But Uribe Gil said they hope to see many more businesses choose to go solar. She said they are ready to help any business that is interested and share learnings on how they got it done. Coming after the , many more people may be interested in learning.

“We want to be part of a big group that is in solar energy. We want everyone in South Florida to be part of this,” she said. “We always feel when you have a business, you make it to do some good in the world, to make a change in the world. And this is our way of doing our part.”

Now, the question is how many more will follow the lead of Uribe Gil and Costex. For those who are interested, visiting the forward-thinking headquarters is a good place to start. It’s located on a stretch of unincorporated Miami-Dade County between Doral and Miami Springs.

Another option is to check out Costex’s .

One can imagine a future where all new buildings going up include solar panels. So, too, one can imagine, in the not too distant future, flying into Miami International Airport and seeing all of those flat roofs in west Miami-Dade dotted with solar panels.

Meanwhile, as Miami’s climate tech scene continues to grow, join us for our second Climate Tech Meetup on Oct. 21 from 10:00 to 11:30 at the Miami-Dade Beacon Council office. You can sign up .

As always, we want to hear from you. Whether story ideas, observations, critiques — anything at all. You can email us at or . Please invite friends to subscribe to the newsletter .

Matt Haggman
Opportunity Miami
matt@opportunity.miami

P.S. I’ll be a panelist at and the University of Miami’s this week. If you’ll be attending either one, I hope to see you.

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