Finally! Something that appears ‘too good to be true’ turns out to actually be… true!
The Associated Press reported recently on an environmental dispute between neighbors in California. A man actually asked prosecutors to file charges against his neighbors because their towering redwood trees blocked sunlight to his solar panels. He wanted the neighbors to be forced to cut down the offending trees. The couple next door insisted that they should not have to chop down the trees because they were planted before the man installed the solar panels.
Incredibly, after a six-year legal battle, a judge recently ordered the couple to cut down two of the redwoods, citing a little-known state law that protects “a homeowner’s right to sunlight.” This is the first time a homeowner has been convicted of violating the law, which was enacted nearly 30 years ago. The law, titled the Solar Shade Control Act, requires homeowners to keep their trees or shrubs from shading more than 10 percent of a neighbor’s solar panels between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Trees in existence at the time of the panel installation are supposed to be exempt. Perhaps the judge failed to read the fine print in this obscure law.
The couple, who drive a hybrid car, argue that trees absorb carbon dioxide, cool the surrounding air and provide habitat for wildlife.
The man, who owns a plug-in electric car, counters by saying his solar panels reduce carbon dioxide emissions far more than the trees do.
“Experts” say clashes such as these will become much more common as the push for renewable energy strengthens and solar energy systems become more popular.
Let the games begin!