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Solar Shade Control. The purpose of the California Solar Shade Control Act is to encourage solar collector use. Problems with the Act were revealed when a homeowner in Santa Clara County installed solar collectors on his roof and his neighbor’s preexisting redwood trees cast a shadow over the  panels. In a high profile case, which pitted environmentalist against environmentalist, the judge ordered the removal, topping, or stripping of preexisting trees from shading the solar collectors. In response to this ruling, the Legislature approved and Gov. Schwarzenegger signed into law Senate Bill 1399.

Senate Bill 1399. The Bill strikes a balance between trees and solar, and provides an exemption from the Solar Shade Control Act for preexisting trees. It:

  • Protects trees and shrubs planted prior to the installation of a solar collector;
  • Eliminates criminal prosecution as a penalty for violation of the law
  • Provides a mechanism for written notice between neighbors;
  • Makes it easier for local communities to adopt and enforce their own local ordinances on the subject; and
  • Clarifies various provisions of the law which were vague or confusing.

New Homes. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger also signed into law legislation that requires homebuilders to make rooftop solar panels and option for buyers of new homes in all housing tracts of at least 50 houses, beginning on January 1, 2011.

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Adams Stirling PLC