Architecture and Planning ETDs

Publication Date



The problem treated in this paper is the simple act of one neighbor shading another neighbor's solar energy system. Such systems are capital intensive and a homeowner will invest a significant sum of money in solar collectors. What can the homeowner do? If solar heating and cooling is to be widely used, legislative bodies will have to address the problems that will arise from serious collector shading in our urban areas. At least three pertinent questions arise from this problem. 1) Does the homeowner have a right to the sunshine that is blocked by his neighbor's building or tree? 2) If he doesn't have a right to the solar energy, should such a right be given to him? 3) If such a right is given to him, how should it be done? The remainder of this paper will discuss the problem within the framework of the three questions posed. Section III answers the first question, and we find that present law does not afford the homeowner any rights to solar energy. Sections IV and VI discuss the present state of the law with respect to easements for light and air. These sections answer the second question. Section VI will also discuss the impact of solar rights on traditionally accepted property rights. Section V will discuss the legal definition of property rights and will use various judicial case studies as examples of legal precedence. Sections VII and VIII will discuss solar rights and their relationships to new and existing areas of development. Sections IX and X deal specifically with governmental involvement in the solar energy field, both domestic and foreign. These sections will state the position of government on solar research and development and how it plans to go about solving our energy crisis.



Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

School of Architecture and Planning

First Committee Member (Chair)

Michel Louis Roger Pillet

Second Committee Member

Robert Carlton Walters

Third Committee Member

Marion Marvin Cottrell

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