By Holly Cook
At last week’s governing body workshop, the Roeland Park city council gave preliminary approval allowing the installation of solar panels at two homes located on the 48th block of Neosho and the 49th block of Wells Drive. The items were placed on an upcoming council agenda meeting where they will receive a final vote.
One of the projects will incorporate solar panels into an existing residence, while the other will include the panels as part of a new build.
Resident Brandon Gillette said the panels were expected to offset 85 to 90 percent of his home’s utility usage.
City code requires solar energy systems to be incorporated into a building, and prohibits the use of free standing or ground-mounted panels. Solar equipment is also not allowed to project over the roof line and all exposed metal on panels “shall be of finished warm earth tones, or black.” Unpainted aluminum is not allowed.
Current city code also requires council approval for any residential solar panel projects, though councilmembers signaled their interest in relaxing this requirement.
Councilmember Teresa Kelly said she would like the code reviewed.
“We want to make it easy for people to have sustainable practices in our city,” Kelly said. “Not put barriers in front of them.”