Sudbury city councillors think for now, solar panels should stay up in the sky.

At a meeting Tuesday evening, they gave the OK to about two dozen proposals to put panels on the rooftops around the city, but they turned down six projects that would have seen the panels set up on the ground.

Part of the reason for the thumbs-down is that large ground panels in some residential yards in the city have drawn complaints from neighbours.

City councillor Frances Caldarelli said the council was asked to approve the proposals without knowing much about them.

"We don't know what the property looks like," she said.

"We don't know what the buildings on the property look like. We don't know where the solar panels are going to be put. We don't know what neighbours are next door."

Changes 'very confusing'

A wide array of Sudbury groups were looking to install the solar panels and sell excess electricity back to the province. Developers had to get an initial OK from city council by the end of this week to move on to the next step.

That next step involved applying for the next round of provincial green energy funding under the Feed-In Tariff program, but the application process changed just a few weeks ago. City staff had a difficult time explaining it to council.

"My answer [was] very confusing, because it's still very confusing to me what exactly [the province is] looking for," said environmental planning manager Stephen Monet.

City councillors like Jacques Barbeau said he also felt the province was putting them in a difficult spot.

"I really see this as nothing more than an opportunity for us to share in the blame," he said.

"This is an absolute farce. The fact that they come to us at the last minute and ask us to support these projects, it just doesn't make any sense to me."