NORTH RICHLAND HILLS — One by one, solar panels have slowly begun to show up on rooftops here. A flash of black glass over a picket fence. A single set of panels facing west in a carefully manicured housing development.
What might be an increasingly common facet of modern life elsewhere, solar energy is meeting with resistance here and other Texas communities, as residents and politicians argue the panels’ mechanical look give their neighborhoods the appearance of an industrial zone.
In December the North Richland Hills town council passed an ordinance requiring residents to survey their neighbors and go before the planning and zoning committee in order to install solar panels on the portion of their roof facing the street. Up until now, all they needed was a construction permit. Now the process can stretch months and costs close to $600.