A recent article in the Niagara-Wheatfield Tribune mentioned that the Wheatfield Town Board is taking time to figure out a town law to regulate the installation and location of ground-mounted solar panels. As solar panels become more commonplace, even in places like Western New York where it’s not always sunny, towns, villages and cities have to figure out what they’ll allow because some people like the looks of solar panels while others think they mess with aesthetic value.
Because solar panels are a relatively new development, governments need to determine what’s best for their local municipality. For instance, in Wheatfield, a family wanted to put a standalone solar unit in their backyard. While it might have been fine for them, what would the neighbors think? Would they want to stare out their window and notice this solar unit everyday?
Interestingly, at this point in time, the Town of Wheatfield would probably tell that family that putting the solar panel unit in their backyard is against the law, simply because there’s a brief mention in a town ordinance that says no to solar farms or ground-mounted solar systems. However, solar panels made specifically to be placed atop roofs are allowed. Indeed, you’re much more likely to see rooftop solar panels on homes around Western New York than to see personal, residential ground-mounted ones.
If you were thinking of “going solar” you’d want to approach your town’s building department and inquire what rules need to be followed. You might need a permit, too.
Solar panels use energy from the sun to create power. If someone has an issue with them, it’s usually about aesthetics and/or awkward glare coming from them. Some panels are like mirrors while others are very low glare.
Would you consider solar panels on your property? Do you think they’re the way of the future?