Can farmers’ neighbors prevent the installation of solar systems?

On Behalf of | Apr 10, 2023 | Real Estate Disputes

Many people go into agriculture in Florida because the profession runs in their family. Others simply have a passion for growing things and helping to feed the nation. Whatever the motivation of a farmer, they work long hours, battle unforeseeable weather conditions and navigate any number of additional challenges to produce a profitable harvest. Although large farms can generate significant revenue, they also incur major expenses related to their daily operations that can leave them with minimal actual profits at the end of the fiscal year.

Partially as a result of this reality, farmers are often on the lookout for alternate means of generating money or reducing their operating expenses. A solar energy system involving panels to collect falling sunlight and batteries to store the generated power can help farmers reduce their operating costs and/or create a secondary stream of revenue. Unfortunately, solar arrays are somewhat controversial, and misinformation abounds that may lead to opposition to any sizeable solar energy installation within a community.

Florida law gives farmers the right to make their own call

There are certain areas in which a large-scale energy production facility would require community approval. However, on properties with agricultural zoning, outside permission is rarely necessary to install a solar energy system.

Florida lawmakers have specifically granted special permissions for agricultural properties to make use of solar arrays. In other words, even if a neighbor complains because they think the solar panels will endanger birds or ruin the view from their bedroom window, they won’t have legal grounds to prevent the installation of the solar panels or demand their removal.

Complying with regulations is key in a property dispute

Land use arguments between neighbors can damage relationships and lead to expensive litigation. Landowners planning major projects, such as the installation of a solar array or windmills, will need to proactively ensure that their choices align with state law. They could also benefit from having legal assistance if a neighbor tries to challenge their plans for their property.

Being proactive about the resolution of real estate disputes with the assistance of an experienced attorney can benefit those who depend on their land for their income.