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The tree on Dunedin City Council road reserve blocks sunshine from hitting the roof of his Bedford Pde house on winter mornings.
He had bought eight solar panels for installation this summer and they would need all available winter light, because inconsistent light damaged them, he said.
''They don't like partial shade,'' Mr Nicholson said.
The macrocarpa needed pruning and ways to get the work done were being investigated, he said.
Saddle Hill Community Board chairman Scott Weatherall said the council supported the tree work, if the Bedford Pde residents agreed to it, and the work was completed by a qualified arborist at no cost to the council.
''The hope is the arborist might do the work in exchange for the wood,'' Mr Weatherall said.
As the tree was not a safety risk and was healthy, the council was not required to prune it.
The board was consulting residents about the proposed work.
''Since being the chairman, I've dealt with about six tree concerns and it seems to be the most contentious thing for the council - second to the stadium.''