Many perks come with belonging to a homeowners association, most of which protect the community's aesthetic and help maintain common amenities, like pools and gyms.
The downside of belonging to an HOA is that the association gets a say in how you do things. How you decorate the outside of your home, acceptable paint colors, and even how high you can allow your grass to grow can all be dictated by an HOA.
We have the information you need to know if you're contemplating switching to solar power and are nervous about how your HOA will respond.Get A Free Solar Quote
Your HOA Solar Action Guide: Can My HOA Stop Me From Installing Solar Panels?
Everyone should be entitled to the freedom to harness solar energy on their own property. Several states have recognized this right and established solar access laws that prevent local governments and homeowners' associations (HOAs) from obstructing homeowners' solar initiatives.
However, not all states have such protective measures in place, and even in those that do, some HOAs may maintain outdated policies that impede solar adoption, often perpetuating unfounded myths about aesthetics and property values. Our comprehensive guide aims to assist you in navigating and overcoming any objections from your HOA regarding solar installations. Additionally, it provides practical advice to foster a solar-friendly environment within your HOA community.
Here’s a quick overview of your rights when it comes to installing solar panels:
State Approval & Solar Installation
There is a solar inspection and permit process that a homeowner must complete before being able to add solar panels onto their roof. If your state rejects your application, your HOA will not allow you to move forward with the solar installation.
For that reason, it's important to double-check all solar applications and documents and to work with a trusted solar provider who knows the ins and outs of the solar permit process in your area.
Every state has its own solar regulations, which may differ from city to city. Thankfully, many solar providers can handle most of the application and permit process for you!
Solar Access Laws
Solar access laws are laws adopted by individual states that protect a homeowner's right to install solar panels.
Below are several states that provide homeowners with the ability to prevent covenants or restrictions that hinder the installation of solar-powered panels and related devices:
- District of Columbia
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- West Virginia
In these States, easements are safeguarded and legally established through contractual agreements, even without the presence of explicit solar rights laws:
- New Hampshire
- New York
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
If you live in a state with solar access laws, your HOA can’t prohibit you from installing solar panels. That being said, your HOA may still get a say about where the panels are installed, so long as it doesn’t decrease the system's efficacy or raise the installation cost.
Solar access laws are a big win for homeowners in an HOA who are interested in solar panels.
Can My HOA Restrict My Solar Installation Setup?
Nearly every HOA gets a say when a homeowner goes solar. Even if you are protected by a solar access law, there may still be HOA rules you have to abide by. Most of those rules deal with the aesthetic of your system, and those rules may be more strict if you reside in a historic property.
Common HOA solar guidelines include flush-mounted panels and matching solar equipment to the roof color.
If you don't adhere to the restrictions your HOA has set forth, they will have the law on their side, even if you are protected by a solar access law. Therefore, be sure you thoroughly understand your HOA's solar panel guidelines before beginning any installation work.
Are There Any Solar Laws That Protect Me?
Absolutely! Solar panels can:
- Increase a property's value
- Drastically reduce electricity bills
- Lower your carbon footprint
- Open you up to tax breaks, federal solar incentives and rebates
- You can sell unused solar energy back to the grid through net metering
Solar panels have seen a boom in popularity. Thanks to that increased popularity and states and the Federal government recognizing the many positive solar panel system benefits, more laws have come about that protect a homeowner's right to go solar. Other than solar access laws, there are also solar easements.
A solar easement, while voluntary between neighbors, provides a legal way for homeowners to protect their home's access to sunshine. That means that two neighbors can negotiate the location of potential obstructions, like a tree that may cast a shadow on panels. While the agreement is voluntary, once it's entered into, it's legally binding. For that reason, many terms will need to be negotiated on a solar easement contract, all of which are designed to protect both parties.
You may also be protected by laws enacted by your state. For example, California has the Solar Rights Act, which restricts HOAs and local governments regarding a homeowner's right to install solar panels, and the Solar Shade Control Act, which helps prohibit sunlight obstructions.
Review Your Solar Panel Options Today!
So, can your HOA stop you from installing solar panels? The answer largely depends on where you live and the terms of any solar protection laws that are in place. That being said, in many cases, an HOA cannot prevent you from installing a renewable energy system. Still, the association may be able to dictate how and where the system is installed.
Don't miss out on the many benefits of solar panels just because you're unsure of your HOA's guidelines. Contact your HOA representative to get a few solar installation quotes for the system size you need. That way, you're better prepared to make your solar panel case for your HOA!Get A Free Solar Quote