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 ...
If I were Gibson, I’d have told car-salesman Zwalley, “Let me take this back to my manager; I’ll fight like hell for you!”
If the three trees in the picture are what Zwalley’s worried about he’s an idiot. Hell, he’s probably an idiot anyway....the few panels he has for $65,000?
Hey,Mr Solar Power...go bleep yourself.
This guy has a$$HOLE WRITTEN ALL OVER HIM
I thought the same thing. At best he’ll break even in 14 years. A tremendous waste of money.
He should just pay the neighbor part of what he saves on electricity, instead of trying to get the government to use force on his behalf to make the neighbor comply with him.
You don't like your neighbor planting tree's on his property?
On his roof, wearing flip-flops.
Darwin will eventually take care of him.
Why I love Florida. If the tree hugger doesn’t like it he can GTFO. Gibson’s nicer than I would be. I’ll give anyone a fair chance but once they demonstrate they’re a whack job all bets are off.
I believe “Stick it where the sun don’t shine” is the proper response.
This numbnuts reminds me of people who move close to an airport then complain about the noise.
I guess some kind of tax credit makes it work for Zwalley since the best payout on this $65,000 investment is a little over 13 years.
Yeah buddy, that is the way I want to spend my money.
Better than the stock market though?
And what is the life expantency on these panels? Most of them are listed at 15-25 years, so more than likely at his “break even point” he will have to start replacing the system! What a maroon!
Saving $300-$400 a month. Lets call it $350.
$350 x 12= $4200 a year
$65,000 ÷ $4200 a year= 16 years
Not to mention interest. Lost, if he paid cash. Paid, if he financed it.
$65,000 x 6%= $3,900 = Not much in savings.
Now of course, if we are talking peace of mind of relying on the electric company, that worth can only be answered by the homeowner.
I wonder how much lawyer fees are going to cost in the end?
Or, simply cut off any branches that extend over your lot ~ lawful everywhere in America if not in most of the world.
another case of some asshole worrying about someone else’s property.