Aug. 30, 2018 — University of Houston Law Center student Maddison Malone Riddick was recently recognized in a national competition for an article that encouraged the use of solar energy.
Riddick, who just began her 3L year, placed second in an energy law writing competition sponsored by the American Bar Association's Renewable, Alternative and Distributed Energy Resources Committee, which is part of the ABA's Section of Environment, Energy and Resources.
"Having my work recognized by the ABA's Energy Law Student Writing Competition was pretty exciting," Riddick said. "Not only does it validate all the work I put into the paper, but it signifies that residential renewable energy is a topic that is important not only to me, and even the Energy class, but also to a much larger audience."
Riddick's article, "Curb Appeal v. Renewable Energy: Ensuring Access to Solar Energy within Homeowners Associations," argues that residential solar panels can be a good option for individuals interested in utilizing renewable energy. However, homeowners associations often have the power to outright ban or severely restrict an individual's right to install solar panels on their homes.
"In some cases, these restrictions make the solar panels completely ineffective," she said. "In this way, HOAs can be an obstacle to progress toward decreasing dependence on fossil fuels. I argued that changes in state and federal law should be made that balance both the HOA's interest in protecting property values within the community and the homeowner's, and arguably society's, interest in utilizing renewable energy sources like residential solar panels."
Riddick said Professor Gina Warren's U.S. Energy Law & Policy course proved to be helpful when she was researching her topic. In the class, students gave presentations on the subject to help generate ideas that could be developed further.
"I knew HOA restriction of solar panels was an issue from being a teaching assistant for Professor Warren's Property Law class," Riddick said. "Professor Warren was extremely helpful as I narrowed the topic, and in providing guidance on developing the paper itself."
"Maddison is very deserving of this award," said Warren, the George Butler Research Professor of Law. "Her article is thoughtfully researched and written and provides novel solutions to a complex problem."