Feeds

Treehuggers lose legal fight to solar-powered neighbour

Environ-mental Prius pair battle plugdrive sun-chum

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Wrangling Californian neighbours have recently concluded a bitter six-year legal battle, as a judge ordered a treehugging couple's lovingly-tended redwoods cut down in order to prevent them shading solar panels installed by the man next door.

Prius driver Richard Treanor, owner of the proscribed foliage, said the decision wasn't ecologically sound. The lost redwoods, he argued, had been a carbon sink, a wildlife habitat and had served to cool the air around them. He and his wife Carolyn Bissett weren't against solar power, he said, "but we think there's a rational way to implement it."

His neighbour Mark Vargas, whose $70,000 solar panels now operate at full efficiency, said that the tree-loving duo had been selfishly snaffling his sunlight.

"I think it's unfair that a neighbor can take away this source of energy from another neighbor," he told AP. Vargas added that it would take acres of trees to match his rooftop and back-garden solar panels in terms of carbon reductions. He also considered that he had out-greened Treanor and Bissett's low-emissions Prius hybrid, having purchased a plug-in electric car.

After years of legal scuffling, a California judge ruled that Treanor and Bissett had violated the state's Solar Shade Control Act, which says residents have to keep their plants from shading more than ten per cent of a neighbour's solar panels between the hours of 10am and 2pm. The couple are the first to be convicted under the 30-year-old law.

Trees already in place when solar panels are set up don't have to be cut down, but new growth causing shading is unlawful once the panels are in place. It seems that two of Treanor and Bissett's redwoods grew in an illegal fashion and had to be chopped down.

Treanor said the law was unfair, as his trees had been planted before Vargas installed his panels. He said the Act meant that a person could "suddenly become a criminal the day a tree grows big enough to shade a solar panel".

Legal experts predicted that such disputes would become more frequent, driven by large state subsidies for home solar-power kit. Such environ-mental* disputes might soon be an everyday Californian event.

Read the AP report here. ®

*Hyphen on purpose

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
ANU boffins demo 'tractor beam' in water
The current state of the art, apparently
China to test recoverable moon orbiter
I'll have some rocks and a moon cheese pizza please, home delivery
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
Vulture 2 spaceplane autopilot brain surgery a total success
LOHAN slips into some sexy bespoke mission parameters
Another step forward for diamond-based quantum computers
Square cut or pear-shaped, these qubits don't lose their shape
LOHAN acquires aircraft arboreal avoidance algorithm acronyms
Is that an ARMADILLO in your PANTS or are you just pleased to see me?
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.