Trees, Shade and Solar Panels = a Possible Crime

Considering solar panels?  How is your relationship with your neighbors?  You might want to look around you and see if any neighbors have trees which may in the future shade your planned panel locations.  Technically, if they eventually do, it will be a crime.

Richard Treanor planted the trees in his yard 11 years ago, but neighbor Mark Vargas says they reduce the amount of electricity the panels can generate.

"Trees do a lot of good," says Richard. "Solar does a lot of good, too."

"Some people say they're for solar power, and some people do something about it," says Mark.

Vargas says his panels produce enough power to sell back to the utility company. His yearly bill is only $60.

Both neighbors insist they are pro-environment. Richard has a hybrid car, and Vargas drives, of course, an all-electric one.

"We have no feud," says Richard. "This isn't a Hatfield-McCoy issue."

A conundrum, of sorts. Trees reduce CO2, but if they shade solar panels, it reduces the ability of people to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a different way. Aagh.

While they say it is not a property line dispute, we wonder how Vargas would feel about all the extra shade without solar panels in his yard. Would he still be upset?  As more people adopt solar panels, will more of these applications of this law (this is the first time it has been applied since it was enacted in 1979) occur?