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Solar Access


Both passive and active solar systems require exposure to the sun for heating or generating electricity. A passive system may also benefit from good exposure to the night sky for cooling. The basic environmental and site factors which affect solar access include climate and microclimate; latitude; topography; trees and landscaping; and human activities and structures. In some areas solar rights protect investments in solar systems. In California, the Solar Shade Control Act was passed in 1979 to protect systems from shading by neighboring trees. In 1986 passive system protection was removed in the case of Sher v. Leiderman, 181 Cal. App. 3d 867, 883 (1986).


Sun path, solar systems, subdivision design, solar orientation, sun path, solar exposure, solar rights, solar access, shading, trees, landscaping, street orientation.


Bainbridge, D. A. and M. Hunt. 1978. Solar Access: A Local Responsibility. California Energy Commission, Sacramento, CA. 8 p

Anson, D., D. A. Bainbridge, J. Hammond and B. Maeda. 1977. Performance requirements for solar homes. Living Systems for the City of Davis, CA. 16 p. 

Hammond, J., D. A. Bainbridge and D. Anson. 1977. Environmental factors affecting solar access. Living Systems for the American Society of Planning Officials. 24 p. 

Bainbridge, D. A. 1976. A proposal to include solar orientation in the Subdivision Map Act. Living Systems, Winters, CA.

Bainbridge, D. A. 1976. The Case for Solar Rights. Living Systems, Winters, CA. 6p.

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