Friday, January 14, 2011

Canadian Lawyer Magazine Cites Wakulat|Law Concerns Regarding Solar Access

In its latest issue (January 2011), Canadian Lawyer Magazine helps to shine some light at the black hole that is currently the Province of Ontario's solar access regulatory framework. Paul Brent, the article's writer, cited my research on this topic to point out there continues to be some confusion at which level of government this issue may be addressed. Brent writes "While Wakulat says it would be logical for right-to-solar issues to be handled at the local level by municipalities, Ontario's Green Energy and Green Economy Act has, in fact, taken away much of the planning authority from local governments." This essentially puts the onus on the provincial government to ensure solar investments aren't rendered an expensive set of roofing shingles.

Brent also undertook some very helpful additional research in order to illuminate a case that made its way to the Ontario Municipal Board and included a "right to light" as one of the many issues facing a developer's application to amend a zoning bylaw. While the article is not available online, I have reprinted a copy below:

Canadian Lawyer - Solar Access

One caveat is that since originally discussing the issue with Brent, I can confirm that solar access is now being raised as a potential issue at the development stage of some projects. While I have not yet heard of a project being abandoned because of this concern, industry participants are taking the issue seriously where potential neighbouring development could increase system shading.

For anyone interested in a succinct but very helpful overview of the loss of municipal authority under the Green Energy and Green Economy Act, I highly recommend this article by Paul Manning of Manning Environmental Law and Joanna Vince. It's entitled Municipalities and the Green Energy Act Update: Benefits, Burdens and Loss of Power.  It appears in the January 2010 issue of Municipal World.

Sunny Days,
~Rob

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