Friday, January 25, 2008

Green versus Clean

You might think this is about the semantics of green tech versus clean tech. That is an interesting question in itself, but this is about a neighborly spat between two Sunnyvale residents and Santa Clara County and state laws and redwood trees and solar panels. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. See here for the Mercury News story. Its complete with a Google Earth map :-) A Sunnyvale couple has been found in violation of the California Solar Shade Control Act ( I bet you did not know that it existed), a law signed signed in 1978 by Gov. Jerry Brown. See, the solar movement in California has a long history :-)

The problem - eight Redwood trees in the Sunnyvale couples' home cast a shadow on their neighbor's 10kW solar panel system. So, the Santa Calara County and courts are asking them to cut down their trees or face hefty fines. The spat has been going on for a few years and has already cost the tree owning couple a fair amount in legal expenses. In any case, its a very interesting dilemma - would you cut down trees to save the environment with solar panels ? Its almost a philosophical question, let alone a purely economic and environmental one. The Mercury News ran a Web Vote on this question and today's (Jan. 27th) newspaper shows that 144 people thought the tree owners should trim the trees and 372 people thought they should not. Probably not a scientifically valid poll, but still, an interesting result.


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