Homeowners Forced to Cut Redwoods that Block Solar Panels on Neighbor’s Home

Holy clash of the environmentalists, Batman!

They drive a Prius, He drives an electric car. They both consider themselves environmentalists. In 1997, They planted eight redwood trees along the borders of their houses to create more privacy. In 2001, He installed a 10-kilowatt solar system (he only pays appx. $60/year for electricity!).

Years later He tried to get Them to remove or cut the trees (cut as in cut from 40 feet to 15 feet. Cut. Not ‘cut’). They said no.

Enter the politics of the state of California and an obscure 1978 law, California’s Solar Shade Control Act. California’s Solar Shade Control Act is a rarely used law that was originally created during the energy crisis of the 1970′s to prevent people who invested in solar panels from seeing a drop in their investment due to shade from trees.

He and They went to court. They lost. In December, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Kurt Kumli found Them guilty of violating the Solar Shade Control Act. But in a partial victory for each side, he ruled that six of the trees can remain and that the two creating the most shade must be removed.

Like we said, clash of the environmentalists! Come on folks, do we really want to get to a point where we are crying back and forth over who’s greener? Remaining neighborly should always prevail. In that spirit, we think this law needs to be amended to make exception for trees that existed prior to the solar panels being installed.

What do you think? Read more from the San Jose Mercury News.