solar panel feud leaves tree owners out on a limb
In an environmental dispute, this ecology
In a friendly state, a man has asked prosecutors to file charges against his neighbors as their towering redwood blocks the sun from the solar panels in his backyard.
But the couple next door insisted that they should not cut down trees to meet Mark Vargas\'s energy needs because they planted mahogany before he installed solar panels in 2001.
Experts say this conflict may become more widespread as California\'s promotion of renewable energy and solar systems becomes more popular.
\"Five or ten years ago, you won\'t see this case because there aren\'t so many systems around,\" said Frank chawo, a retired professor of environmental studies at San Jose State University.
\"I can almost guarantee that there will be more conflicts.
\"After more than six years of legal disputes, A judge recently ordered Richard treenir and his wife, Carolyn Bissett, to cut down two of their eight redwood trees citing a state law protecting the owner\'s right to the sun.
The couple said they would not appeal the ruling because they could not afford legal fees, but they planned to lobby state lawmakers to change or repeal the law.
Treanor said the sunshades Control Act means that homeowners \"suddenly become criminals on the day a tree grows long enough to shade solar panels \".
The case marks the first time homeowners have been convicted of violating laws enacted 30 years ago, when few homeowners owned solar systems.
The law requires homeowners to keep their trees or shrubs between 10 a without blocking solar panels above 10% of their neighbors. m. and 2 p. m.
When the sun is strongest
Existing trees that cast shadows when installing panels are tax free, but new growth is subject to the law.
Although the judge did not impose any fine on Treanors, residents could be fined up to $1,000 a day.
Vargas said the law protects his $70,000 investment in the solar sector, which he believes should be strengthened.
\"I don\'t think it\'s fair for a neighbor to take this energy from another neighbor,\" he said . \".
Treanor, a retired engineer, said he and his wife are not opposed to solar power, \"but we think there is a reasonable way to achieve it.
\"Solar energy is growing rapidly in California, the largest solar generator in the United States so far.
In 2007, more than 30,000 California households and businesses had rooftop solar panels, generating 400 megawatts of electricity.
According to California\'s non-profit environment, these are up to eight power plants.
The California Solar program has driven the boom, offering homeowners and businesses more than $3 billion in rebates over the next decade to install solar energy
Both sides said they wanted to do the best for the environment.
Trenir and Bissett, who drive a hybrid Prius, believe that trees absorb carbon dioxide, cool the air around them, and provide habitat for wildlife.
Recently bought a Vargas plug
In electric vehicles, the counter requires 2 to 3 acres of trees to reduce CO2 emissions, just like solar panels covering the grid of the roof and backyard.
Bernadette Del Chiaro, an advocate for clean energy in California, said that in order to prevent similar disputes, changes to the shading act may be needed.
\"We want to make sure that we protect individuals who invest a lot of money in solar energy, which is an important resource for the country,\" she said . \".
But lawmakers may want to \"take a look at this policy and make sure it is written in a way that is fair to everyone.