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 ...
I can’t believe the guy murdered an oak tree to put the solar panels up!!!
But then he’d first have to be cured of his ecological disorder.
First Hurricane to go ripping roofs off in the area is going to make a nice glass confetti of the panels.
“but he is responsible for his intentional actions that create shade that covers *his* neighbors house and that solar array.”
Nope. Not in Florida.
Tell me about it. My bill this month was $296 and that was with a $98 credit. Of course, my bill is light, gas, water, trash pickup and sewage, plus a couple of other small fees.
By July and Aug, it will be over $400.
The guy is a fool.
Even if he really saving $350 a month on electricity this thing will never pay for itself.
“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.”
What a great neighbor “Sue-First, Ask Questions Later” Zwalley is.
>properly treated the ROI computation will be quite beneficial to him.
Don’t try to sell me on that ROI computation unless you are willing to buy this cheap bridge I have for sale - it has a GREAT ROI :)
Aren't flip-flops, like, Florida's official state shoe?
Suppose inflation hits and energy costs double. Suppose energy gets hard to get at any price.
Now, re-do the figures.
Planting those trees, of that type, seems really spiteful.
What is Zwalley so effed up about? He’ll be dead before those trees could be large enough to have a significant effect on his solar power.
I understand that is the case legally. However, morally, he is.
It also assumes the money was free.
I'm from California. I recently moved back to Maryland after spending 3 years in Texas (near San Antonio). I have *never* had bills over $300/mo. Now that I'm back in MD, I have had some "shell shock" over a couple of bills that were over $200--higher than I've ever paid.
To me, high bills suggest that the house isn't properly insulated. There are plenty of things one can do to reduce one's electric bill.
First off the sun is probably pretty much over head most of the year. Secondly, a $65,000 system should track the trajectory of the sun, it looks like his are passive and straight up. And lastly, someone has already pointed out that Mr. Solar will break even in 18 years.
LOL... $65,000 to save $300 a month? Damn... It's going to take him 18.5 years to realize a savings.
Do solar panels last that long? LOL...
What a friggin moron.
I think you're missing the point. This putz is ticked off that Johnny Appleseed didn't get his permission before planting his trees.
I'll bet a years wages the moonbat sun worshiper didn't get Johnny Appleseed's permission to place that big ugly solar wart in the middle of the block.
Liberals are such hypocrites. They kick sand in your face then get made when you get up and kick their a**.