In case you missed it, here’s an update on the neighbors in Sunnyvale, CA with conflicting enviro-goals: trees versus solar panels.
It’s been reported widely (Google news full results here) and rightly so because this is a big deal. In this case, the plant-lovers lost out to the lovers of solar energy because California’s Solar Shade Control Act outlawed the shading of solar panels.
So let me weigh in here. Even if they don’t give a damn about trees for any of their other attributes, you’d think that proponents of energy savings would advocate the use of trees to shade homes, most especially in a place called Sunnyvale. Okay, maybe not those redwoods that also shade in the winter, but certainly deciduous trees strategically located on a southern exposure.
And how efficient are those solar panels, anyway? I recently heard an award-winning "green" architect speak and she made the point that they’re only efficient if they’re kept really clean, something that homeowners are pretty negligent about doing. Thus, she recommends their use only on commercial buildings and most especially, power plants themselves.
But I have a funny feeling that someone else might want to weigh in on this question.