At the May 12 council briefing, planning and community development director Dale Page said the panels were brought to the City�s attention through a resident complaint and she was unsure when they had been erected.
�We need to get certification that they are structurally sound but I think they have been in place for a little while,� she said.
The panels are a maximum of 0.6m above the roofline, taking the building maximum height to 13.65m above natural ground level.
A council document said while the panels did �somewhat interfere with ocean views�, they did not cause complete loss of views and removing or modifying them to sit flush on the roof �would not markedly improve the situation�.
It said they did not detract from the building or the streetscape and were considered to satisfy the requirements of the City�s renewable energy and coastal building height policies.
However, Cr Brian Corr said he believed the panels breached the height policy of 10m along the coast and because they were put up without permission, he could not support the retrospective approval.
The panels provide 11.5 per cent of the building�s power needs.