December 31, 2014

Residents Upset With New Restrictions On Solar Panels

Sunus Solar’s Notes:

This news report reminds us that we are responsible for our local legislature. We voted our representatives into office (or didn’t, which helps the electorate) and we are responsible for their actions while they are in office. When this local city establishes an ordinance restriction on road-facing solar panels, it is up to it’s community to endorse or overturn the ordinance through the legislative process.

With one homeowners ridiculous proposal the city imposed a barrier to entry for all homeowners. A steep fine and meeeting that doesn’t guarantee the necessary permit to install solar panels in the most beneficial location. The reason, though extreme, didn’t come from a vacuum. We need to take our greater community into account when designing our grand schemes, but we also need to react appropriately with the future of clean energy production and use in mind when the elaborate plans are proposed.

Here’s to a bright future. Happy New Year!



Residents Upset With New Restrictions On Solar Panels

Originally posted on

Homeowners in North Richland Hills say the city government is making it harder — not easier — to harness clean energy.

The frustration stems from a new ordinance, passed earlier this month that adds regulations to solar panel installations.

In a 5-2 vote, the North Richland Hills city council approved an ordinance establishing guidelines for solar power systems.

Ground mounted systems are designated permanent accessory structures and subject to the same size, location and setback criteria as other accessory buildings.

The ordinance also allows roof mounted solar panels when the panels do not face a street. Solar panels located on street-facing roof slopes now require a special use permit (SUP) in addition to the regular installation permit.

It is the SUP mandate that many homeowners and solar proponents say is too restrictive.

The SUP application costs $582, and requires notification of neighbors and a public hearing. An application does not guarantee approval — just consideration. The process of achieving SUP approval can take up to 45 days.

“This is purely aesthetics,” said Dan Lepinski, of the city’s reasons for requiring special permitting.

Lepinski has ten panels on his own roof slope, and hopes to add more. His solar power system reduces his energy bills, and even sends power back to the grid on cloudy days.

A solar engineer and North Richland Hills homeowner, Lepinski worries the new rule will discourage some people from exploring the idea of solar power.

His concern is especially for people who are interested in solar panels and whose homes face south — the best exposure for collecting sunlight.

“[The SUP process] is enough to dissuade many people from putting them on their homes,” said Lepinski…

Read the whole report on