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Court Rules In Favor Of Homeowners’ Solar Panels

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CLARKSON VALLEY, MO (KTVI) – On June 29, the Cole County Circuit Court ruled in favor of James and Frances Babb and the Missouri Solar Energy Industries Association (MOSEIA) in a lawsuit filed against the City of Clarkson Valley, Missouri concerning the City’s attempt to impose local regulations on the installation of residential solar panels.

Judge Daniel Green ruled state law protects the Babbs’ right to use solar energy at their property. The judge also ruled that because state regulations adopted by the Missouri Public Service Commission impose statewide standards on the Babbs’ proposed residential solar system, Clarkson Valley cannot impose local ordinances which are more restrictive or which serve to prohibit the Babbs’ residential solar system.

The Babbs first submitted an application for a building permit for their system to Clarkson Valley on November 1, 2011. The City’s Board of Aldermen imposed a moratorium and then later enacted two ordinances imposing additional requirements on residential solar systems and requiring applicants to obtain a special use permit.

The Babbs’ submitted an application for a special use permit  which was approved by the City’s Planning & Zoning Commission. The Clarkson Valley Board of Aldermen denied the application on March 6, 2012 by a 6-0 vote without any explanation.

James Babb says, “We hope to have our system up and running soon.”

Steve Jeffery, an attorney in Clayton, who represents the Babbs, stated, “Because Clarkson Valley was imposing additional and more restrictive requirements, over and above the PSC requirements, and because the Board of Aldermen denied the special use permit, the City was in effect prohibiting an activity that the PSC rules allow.”

The Court found that the challenged ordinances “impose requirements that are more restrictive than, inconsistent with, and in conflict with” the PSC’s rules. In addition, the Court found the ordinance requiring a special use permit “creates an unlawful condition precedent that is inconsistent and in conflict with” the PSC rules.

“In November 2008, 67% of Missouri voters approved Proposition C, the renewable energy standard,” said Dane Glueck, MOSEIA’s President. “With this ruling, we hope that local governments will recognize the strengths and benefits of residential solar systems, and MOSEIA looks forward to working with local officials to address any local concerns.”

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