With so much talk recently about going green, it is interesting to see how a case in California is causing such a ruckus in Sunnyvale. Seems that two neighbors are in a heated dispute about some redwood trees that are casting a shadow over solar panels. On the one hand the solar power neighbor says that his electrical grid is being compromised because of the shade that the redwood trees are causing. The owners of the redwood trees state that the trees are environmentally friendly and should not be cut down.

In steps the district attorney, who is using the California’s Solar Shade Control Act as leverage against the tree owners. In the 1970’s during the energy crisis, California passed a law that prohibits trees from blocking solar panels that produce electrical energy. The law requires that the trees be trimmed or removed.  The law also imposes a $1,000 a day fine for violations.

The article further states:

It affects only trees planted after 1979, and bans trees or shrubs from shading more than 10 percent of a neighbor’s solar panels between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.  It does not apply to trees or shrubs that were there before the solar panels were installed. But – and here’s the key distinction – it does apply to existing trees and shrubs that later grew big enough to shade the solar panels.

In December, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Kurt Kumli found the couple guilty of one count of violating the Solar Shade Control Act. In a partial victory for each side, he ruled that six of the trees can remain and that the two generating the most shade must be removed. He also waived any fines.

The tree folks are appealing since they feel any action would results in a precedent being set. They must feel pretty strongly about their position since they have already spent some $25,000 in legal fees.

Comments welcome.

Full story is here.

[tags]solar, panels, trees, redwoods, block, electricity, generated, courts, district, attorney, fees,  [/tags]