Skip to comments.Owner of solar-powered home fights neighbor's trees, gains little ground - "Right to sunlight"
Posted on 05/20/2012 7:21:57 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
LARGO Last summer, Mike Zwalley put a $65,000 solar energy system on his roof. The system a 30-gallon solar water heater and 44 black panels that convert sunlight into electricity cut Zwalley's electric bill from $300 to $400 per month to $10 to $20.
About two months after Zwalley installed the system at his waterfront home off Indian Rocks Road, his next-door neighbor planted three cypress trees, each about 10 feet tall, along his property line.
Zwalley, a 58-year-old car salesman, was not happy. He had asked the neighbor, Wade Gibson, not to plant the trees there.
Zwalley found several websites that estimated the trees would grow to between 70 and 100 feet. At that height, they could cast shade on Zwalley's solar panels.
Gibson told Zwalley that he did not think the trees would get that big, but if they did, Gibson would take care of it, according to Zwalley.
That answer wasn't good enough for Zwalley. He called city management. He called state legislators. He called legal experts. They all gave him different forms of the same answer: In Florida, the law is not on your side.
It would be in a few other states, though.
As energy costs continue to rise, legal experts say courts should expect more battles over solar panels and a property owner's rights, or lack thereof, to sunlight.
"We're going to see more and more, and if it's on your rooftop or in your back yard, you're going to be concerned about your neighbor growing trees," said Scott Anders, director of the Energy Policy Initiatives Center in San Diego. "And growing trees is a good thing, right?"
If Zwalley lived in any of the following places,...
(Excerpt) Read more at tampabay.com ...
Salt the ground. Done.
Or people who move close to a gun range, and then complain. Or people who move into a neighborhood with NO covenants, and start complaining about the color of your house, or cars parked in the driveway and not in the garage....and on and on and on....
I am on the verge of having some of my second growth Redwood trees topped as they are now blocking the morning sunlight to my garden. I call the trees agressive weeds as they re-sprout from the logged stumps by the dozens..
Anyone buying his house is not going to value that solar system an extra $65,000. If he wants to move sometime in the next 15 years he will take a bath.
It's hard to predict the future. Justifying the cost of putting in a heat pump has the same problem. A home buyer won't value it enough to make it worth it.
You don’t think a car salesman paid $65K for those panels, do you? Guaranteed he got money from the govt. to help pay for them.
You’re probably right. Let’s hope all this attention makes its way to an IRS scoundrel who got screwed by a car salesman and decides to check into this dweeb’s ‘efficient energy credits’ on his last income return.
The typical pv solar panel has a life of 20-25 years I believe. A few short years after he breaks even he’ll have to start doing some replacing.
He bought them from Solyndra ..
Some properties have codicils which supposedly stop neighbors from having things placed on their property that other home owners think are ugly.
Some of the things they do not allow are flag poles flying American flags.
When I think a Homeowners association would allow this ugly crap on someones roof and not let them fly a flag I get pissed.
Most “grid tie” PV systems do not have anyway to store energy when the power goes off. Meaning no batteries. The grid and the inverter are synchronised to each other. If the grid goes out, most of these folks who use smart meters are dead in the water also. The utilities don’t want you to export power to their dead power lines.
I know there are many that have batteries as back up for such events, but they are not usually hooked into the grid tie.
If I were to add batteries to my grid tie PV system, I would be forced to disconnect my system.
Basically, Solar Panel Guy, Mike Zwalley, is shooting his wad a bit too soon. He should have first nicely asked his SHADE LOVING neighbor, Wade Gibson, what species he planted before flying off with; "I WANT A LAW DAMMIT, OR ELSE!" To wit: his Shade Loving neighbor, Wade Gibson, is likely telling the truth and the trees won't grow to any problematic height. Although ... one species can grow to be 220 ft tall (LOL), now that'd be a problem. (snicker)
But 'series', since Mr Gibson is an Architectural Project Manger and deals with TREES and LOCATIONS (aka: Architectural Landscaping) on every project he's involved with I think he knows what he's doing and saying. He also knows the Building Codes and any Laws-regulations pertaining to Architecture and Landscaping in his area of FL -- and he knows them by heart.
Especially considering Mr Gibson's age, professional experience. and that he ain't a smart-a$$, wet-nosed kid with a shiny new Project Management Degree trying to 'make his bones' by being a pr*ck (I detest those little brats (1)).
So Mr Zwalley should chill out, sit back, and enjoy his $20 electric bill and stop being a jackass. Though being a USED CAR SALESMAN that may be a little tough. /s
(1) I've been in Commercial Construction for 42+ years now (dam I'm gettin old).
Old data, but shows what was around for FL -
Depending on the number, age, nature, etc., of the trees, I seriously doubt small claims court would be the venue.
However, I'm sure the guilty HO's property insurance won't be too happy.
Besides, if the abutting neighbor lies about an unmarked (save for the trees) property line, who's to say before the damage has been done?
While I generally wouldn't "damage" others property, I'd get a cash only, illegal alien gypsy service to do the work.
I once had a fight with the town over "their" tree rubbing against my house. I had to trim the offending branch myself. Morons.
Even the power company fought with them. They ended up "splinting" the sections of power lines that were subject to rubbing against the trees.
I think the one I remembered was in the WSJ 20 years earlier.
Gay car salesman should move to Oregon.
Maybe if the car salesman had more shade trees he wouldn’t need all that electricity to run his air conditioner.
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