John did what the politicians wanted, but he didn’t get it anyway

John Ravlo på taket av hytta si på Hafjelltoppen

With electricity prices soaring and a 30-year-old cabin where the roof needs a revamp, this winter the cabin owner discovered he wanted to install photovoltaic systems on parts of the cabin at Hafjelltoppen in Oer municipality.

It should prove to be a problem.

Approved: This is what most of the cabin rooftops look like in the cabin area of ​​Havgill. Peat and slate roofs are the only approved roofs in the area around Hafjelltoppen where Ravlo has a cabin.

Photo: Lars Eric Skrivsrud/NRK

– does not apply

With today’s electricity prices, Ruffalo will save 10,000 kroner annually, he believes.

In addition, it will contribute to the green transformation that Parliament wants to speed up, including the production of as many solar cells as possible.

He also entered into an agreement with the local electricity company to purchase electricity that he does not use himself.

Ruffalo thought he was in a safe place when he wanted to cover 12 percent of the surface with solar cells. The solar cells faced the forest and were not visible from a public road.

Solar cells - islands

In order: A total of 20 square meters of the cottage’s roof now shimmers with solar cells. The rest will be covered with peat, Ruffalo plan.

Photo: Knut Røsrud / NRK

In large parts of Øyer municipality, it is allowed to install solar panels on the roof of the cabins, without applying. He is still calling the municipality in search of safety. Turns out it wasn’t good.

The municipality thought that if he was going to build a solar panel, he would have to apply for an exemption. In the current zoning plan from 2014, only grass or slate roofs are allowed.

I think it’s a big paradox

Rafflo has applied for permission to install solar cells. When he hadn’t heard anything in twelve weeks, he got to work.

But recently the municipality came to inspect.

– I received a parcel because it was against the zoning plan because there was no grass roof.

Solar cells - islands

Steiser: Ruffalo thinks it’s a pretty big irony that if he had started this fall, he wouldn’t have to apply. The municipality is now sending a new municipal sub-plan for consultation where solar cell systems are accepted – without submitting an application. In neighboring rural areas, this is already legal.

Photo: Knut Røsrud / NRK

It is believed that the municipality of Ewer was inflexible.

– I think it’s strange that the municipality interprets the rules against something they are already for. He says it amazes me.

I hope the issue will be resolved

Oyer’s deputy mayor, Nesveta Teru (SV), apologizes and believes that it is unfortunate that Ruffalo faced the municipality with the same difficulty.

But it denies that the municipality has tried to train the issue, and that they have to comply with the applicable rules.

– Instructions were already issued in March to apply for exemption. If this had been done, everything would have gone faster and easier.

Solar cells - islands

Sorry: Deputy Mayor Nesveta Teru and the municipality of Auer are positive about solar cells. – We’re taking this into account in recent zoning plans and future municipal sub-plans, she says.

Photo: Knut Røsrud / NRK

Ruffalo thinks it is totally wrong to pay 11,500 crowns for an exemption when he thinks he didn’t need to apply at all.

– It exceeds the profitability of the entire project.

The deputy mayor hopes that the issue will be resolved now.

Say yes to solar cells

Trond Hagen, president of the Norwegian Cabin Association, has not had an issue on the table over a dispute between the municipality and the cabin owner since 2017.

– Perhaps that indicates that the municipalities are fine, he said.

His advice is to apply for an exemption if you cannot build a PV system freely. If you do not, the municipality has the right to request that the facility be removed again.

Trond Hagen is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Norwegian Cabin Association

Good: The Chairman of the Norwegian Cabin Association, Trond Hagen, has not heard of a conflict between

Photo: Norway Cabin Association

Policy advisor at the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, Ingrid Nikulin Sand (Sp), says future-oriented spatial and community planning is critical to being able to deal with climate change.

– Municipalities have a central role in this work, among others by making zoning plans for future developments.

But it plays the ball to the municipalities on what to choose.

– For many municipalities, it is important to be able to take an interest in the traditional construction practice on the site and further develop it. Green roofs with vegetation can have their advantages from a climate perspective, and the use of solar cells has other advantages.

The growing interest in photovoltaic systems

NRK has been in contact with other municipalities about how to deal with this matter. Many of the country’s largest rural areas are noticing a growing interest in installing photovoltaic systems.

Hope to find a solution

John Arno Ruffalo thinks it’s positive that Oyer’s deputy mayor wants a solution.

– Looks like we’ve agreed to put solar cells in place on the roof of the cabin here.

And Ruffalo will finally get electricity from solar cells in the cabin. Now the municipality will process his application quickly. If not, Ruffalo has a plan.

– In the worst case, we will have to cover the facility with a tarpaulin until the new municipal sub-plan is approved.

But both he and the deputy mayor hope things will work out before they go that far.

Solar cells - islands

Agree: John Ruffalo and Oyer Deputy Mayor, Nesveta Teru, agree that there will be a focus on PV systems in the municipality.

Photo: Knut Røsrud / NRK

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Hanisi Anenih

Hanisi Anenih

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