Is the Right to Light a California Necessity?

by William R. Harris


Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback28 pages $20.00 $16.00 20% Web Discount

Addresses the uncertain potential of solar energy and the question of a transferable property interest in sunlight. Such a property right by landowners, even though transferable, would be likely to facilitate solar heating and cooling systems in California. The right to light should be considered a necessity since a generation of Californians now living can expect a decline in U.S. oil and gas production beginning late in this century. More extensive legislative hearings are needed in 1976 before determining the roles and authorities of state and municipal districts regarding solar rights. The author recommends that the California Legislature enact a right to light in a framework which retains actual land use zoning decisions at the local level, and allows opportunities for transferability with compensation of solar energy rights. Alternative solar energy rights concepts used in England, Japan and other U.S. states are outlined. (Statement submitted to California State Assembly Committee on the Judiciary.) 28 pp. Ref.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.