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Easements…for the sun?

Easements can be an interesting and potentially confusing part of real estate law. Depending on the particular need or purpose of an easement, the subject can get complicated and downright abstract. From road access for a neighbor across your property to the easements granted for gas and power utilities, there can be a lot to consider when making renovations on your land–or that your neighbors must consider when living next to you.

With so many initiatives for clean energy, it can be easy to forget that property law has its place regarding sunshine and wind. If your home or property has solar panel systems on it, do you have rights to the sun?

Turns out, yes. Solar easements, as detailed in California law, refer to the rights of a solar system owner to receive sunlight across property owned by another. Even though sunlight is everywhere, there is a matter of angles to consider. Down in Camarillo, solar panels will almost always be pointed Southbound to catch as much energy throughout the day as possible.

This easement provides protections for you and your solar panels to an extent. To remain clear and to avoid any legal confusion, all solar easements must include measurable dimensions and times of the day where sunlight cannot be obstructed. This does not mean a neighbor is obliged to tear down their trees to ensure you get sunlight for a brand new solar panel. But once installed, the system must be taken into consideration if a neighbor wishes to develop their property in a way that may adversely affect the light you receive and the energy you generate.