Everything is bigger in the state of Texas, except for solar panels.
Slowly but surely, solar panels have begun to appear on the suburban rooftops of many Texas suburbs. However, some aesthetically-conscious residents feel the solar panels are visually disruptive to their painstakingly manicured housing developments.
A common aspect of modern life in many other areas of the country, solar power is being met with resistance in many Texas suburbs and communities as both residents and politicians express concern and distaste over the panels’ mechanical appearance, which they feel clashes with the appearance of their neighborhoods, giving it a more industrial look.
Since December, the Dallas suburb of North Richland Hills has required residents who are interested in installing solar panels that face the street to survey their neighbors prior to going before the planning and zoning committee. In the past, all that was required was a construction permit. However, now the process has become both lengthy and expensive, with costs upwards of $600.
“You got a few people who think they’re experts in aesthetics, telling us they look ugly. But like they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” said Steve Yoder, who installed a solar system on his North Richland Hills home five years ago.
As the costs of solar panels continue to drop, their popularity has subsequently risen. However, not all homeowners are installing panels as means of reducing their carbon footprint. Rather, more are concerned with reducing their electric and energy bills. This mentality has brought solar panels to Texas suburbs where they were once only seen in the state’s metropolitan areas or rural communities. But Texas suburbs have stringent aesthetic standards that solar panels just don’t meet.
In a vast number of suburban Texas neighborhoods controlled by homeowners associations, plans to install solar panels are continually met with delay and, in some cases, flat-out denied despite legislation protecting solar power.