Public Resources Code §§25980-25986. Solar Shade Control Act.
25980. This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the Solar Shade Control Act. It is the policy of the state to promote all feasible means of energy conservation and all feasible uses of alternative energy supply sources. In particular, the state encourages the planting and maintenance of trees and shrubs to create shading, moderate outdoor temperatures, and provide various economic and aesthetic benefits. However, there are certain situations in which the need for widespread use of alternative energy devices, such as solar collectors, requires specific and limited controls on trees and shrubs.
(Added by Stats. 1978, Ch. 1366.)
(a) As used in this chapter, “solar collector” means a fixed device, structure, or part of a device or structure, on the roof of a building, that is used primarily to transform solar energy into thermal, chemical, or electrical energy. The solar collector shall be used as part of a system that makes use of solar energy for any or all of the following purposes:
(1) Water heating.
(2) Space heating or cooling.
(3) Power generation.
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), for the purpose of this chapter, “solar collector” includes a fixed device, structure, or part of a device or structure that is used primarily to transform solar energy into thermal, chemical, or electrical energy and that is installed on the ground because a solar collector cannot be installed on the roof of the building receiving the energy due to inappropriate roofing material, slope of the roof, structural shading, or orientation of the building.
(c) For the purposes of this chapter, “solar collector” does not include a solar collector that is designed and intended to offset more than the building’s electricity demand.
(d) For purposes of this chapter, the location of a solar collector is required to comply with the local building and setback regulations, and to be set back not less than five feet from the property line, and not less than 10 feet above the ground. A solar collector may be less than 10 feet in height only if, in addition to the five-foot setback, the solar collector is set back three times the amount lowered.
(Amended by Stats. 2008, Ch. 176, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2009.)
25982. After the installation of a solar collector, a person owning or in control of another property shall not allow a tree or shrub to be placed or, if placed, to grow on that property so as to cast a shadow greater than 10 percent of the collector absorption area upon that solar collector surface at any one time between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., local standard time.
(Amended by Stats. 2008, Ch. 176, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2009.)
25983. A tree or shrub that is maintained in violation of Section 25982 is a private nuisance, as defined in Section 3481 of the Civil Code, if the person who maintains or permits the tree or shrub to be maintained fails to remove or alter the tree or shrub after receiving a written notice from the owner or agent of the affected solar collector requesting compliance with the requirements of Section 25982.
(Repealed and added by Stats. 2008, Ch. 176, Sec. 5. Effective January 1, 2009.)
25984. This chapter does not apply to any of the following:
(a) A tree or shrub planted prior to the installation of a solar collector.
(b) A tree planted, grown, or harvested on timberland as defined in Section 4526 or on land devoted to the production of commercial agricultural crops.
(c) The replacement of a tree or shrub that had been growing prior to the installation of a solar collector and that, subsequent to the installation of the solar collector, dies, or is removed for the protection of public health, safety, or the environment.
(d) A tree or shrub that is subject to a city or county ordinance.
(Amended by Stats. 2008, Ch. 176, Sec. 6. Effective January 1, 2009.)
(a) A city, or for unincorporated areas, a county, may adopt, by majority vote of the governing body, an ordinance exempting their jurisdiction from the provisions of this chapter. The adoption of the ordinance shall not be subject to the California Environmental Quality Act (commencing with Section 21000).
(b) Notwithstanding the requirements of this chapter, a city or a county ordinance specifying requirements for tree preservation or solar shade control shall govern within the jurisdiction of the city or county that adopted the ordinance.
(Amended by Stats. 2008, Ch. 176, Sec. 7. Effective January 1, 2009.)
25986. Any person who plans a passive or natural solar heating system or cooling system or heating and cooling system which would impact on an adjacent active solar system may seek equitable relief in a court of competent jurisdiction to exempt such system from the provisions of this chapter. The court may grant such an exemption based on a finding that the passive or natural system would provide a demonstrably greater net energy savings than the active system which would be impacted.
(Added by Stats. 1978, Ch. 1366.)