Solar and Your HOA

19 Jul

Are Solar Panels Pink Flamingos?

As many as 60 million homes in the United States are part of homeowner associations. HOAs can be powerful enforcers of their regulations, and many restrict the presence of plastic pink flamingos, and in some parts of the country they are able to prevent solar installations (In Nebraska for example, a homeowner was sued by his HOA for installing solar on his home), but not in California. The Golden State has a long record of supporting renewable energy and solar in particular by the Solar Rights Act Even in California however, in some rare cases, an HOA can make things difficult for a homeowner who wants to go solar. If you live in an HOA community that doesn’t have any solar installed, you may be wondering how easy or difficult it may be to adopt solar for your home.

In the rare case that an HOA doesn’t readily accept your proposed design, it may require you to move the solar panels to an area where they will not be visible by neighbors or, if the system is ground mounted, to surround them with some type of landscaping. The HOA’s primary concern in such a case is usually aesthetics. You should work with your HOA to alleviate their concerns, and ask your solar contractor to provide you with photos of other installations they’ve done that are similar to your proposed system. Other things you can do are to preparing cost and efficiency comparisons between your proposed design and the HOA’s, and insist on your right to go solar as spelled out in the Solar Rights Act.

As shown in blue on the map below, the majority of states have in place some form of solar easement or access law at either the state and/or local levels. For more information on the solar lawsuit in Nebraska, visit http://www.southshoreheightslawsuit.com/

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