Freedom? Tyler, Texas, City Ordinance Bans Residents From Getting Solar If Panels Are Visible To The Public

There’s a small town in Texas that has taken a stance against solar panels in a weird way. That stance was actually taken back in 2012 via a city ordinance. Tyler, Texas, is what I’ve always considered the midpoint between Shreveport, Louisiana, and Dallas, Texas. Stop at the truck stop to get some rocks, fudge, and a bathroom break and continue on. The city’s stance against solar was taken back in 2012 in the form of the ordinance because city officials just didn’t like how solar panels looked on the roofs of residential homes.

The owner of Wright-Way Services — a company specializing in real estate, construction and remodeling, and solar power installations — ran into this problem.

Owner Rudy Wright recently told CBS19, “We just got notified just a few days ago. I guess it was actually a week ago, that they were denying us, because then they cited just the one sentence of the ordinance.”

Wright had been servicing the region for 13 years and hasn’t had any issue with installing solar panels all across East Texas. Until now. He took part in a meeting with the City of Tyler, which informed him that his installation was in violation of the 2012 ordinance. The ordinance reads:

“Residential solar installations must be situated so that they are screened from view from public streets.”

Wright knew of the ordinance, but until now, the city never denied his permits. The Planning Director for Tyler, Kyle Kingma, told CBS19 that based on Wright’s information, the job was in violation of the ordinance.

“The application that we had before us did not meet the criteria. And so if we could have had some sort of demonstration that it wasn’t seen from the road, then we can approve it,” said Kingma.

Kingma explained that the city reviewed every solar panel job on a case-by-case basis. Things they look at include curves on the road and a line of sight analysis from Tyler’s streets. Unfortunately for Wright, he doesn’t have any idea when a project may or may not be approved.

“How can I go bid solar in Tyler and be able to know whether I’m wasting my time or the customer’s time because you guys are not going to approve it? And he couldn’t answer that question and that it’s based on a case-by-case basis,” Wright told CBS19.

Kingma gave a bit of hope, though. He pointed out that if enough people wanted the city to change, they might modify it near the end of the summer. Until then, Tyler is very picky about solar in the city.

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