Florida Solar Rights
So you’ve decided to install solar panels on your Florida home, but you live in a neighborhood. Does your Homeowners Association (HOA) or Condominium Owners Association (COA) allow solar panels? Well, we have good news for you. It doesn’t matter whether or not your HOA or COA likes solar panels, because you can get them regardless with the Florida Solar Rights Law. This law helps people who want to go solar by making it illegal to prevent people from getting solar energy.
Solar rights laws are becoming more common throughout the states, and are specifically instituted to protect owners of solar energy systems. Florida’s solar rights law forbids any entity- HOA and COAs included- from prohibiting the installation and usage of solar panels on a residential roof. It’s written out very clearly in the statute itself, which you can view below:
County Organization & Intergovernmental Relations
Chapter 163 – Intergovernmental Programs
163.04 Energy devices based on renewable resources.—
(1) Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter or other provision of general or special law, the adoption of an ordinance by a governing body, as those terms are defined in this chapter, which prohibits or has the effect of prohibiting the installation of solar collectors, clotheslines, or other energy devices based on renewable resources is expressly prohibited.
(2) A deed restriction, covenant, declaration, or similar binding agreement may not prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting solar collectors, clotheslines, or other energy devices based on renewable resources from being installed on buildings erected on the lots or parcels covered by the deed restriction, covenant, declaration, or binding agreement. A property owner may not be denied permission to install solar collectors or other energy devices by any entity granted the power or right in any deed restriction, covenant, declaration, or similar binding agreement to approve, forbid, control, or direct alteration of property with respect to residential dwellings and within the boundaries of a condominium unit. Such entity may determine the specific location where solar collectors may be installed on the roof within an orientation to the south or within 45° east or west of due south if such determination does not impair the effective operation of the solar collectors.
(3) In any litigation arising under the provisions of this section, the prevailing party shall be entitled to costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.
(4) The legislative intent in enacting these provisions is to protect the public health, safety, and welfare by encouraging the development and use of renewable resources in order to conserve and protect the value of land, buildings, and resources by preventing the adoption of measures which will have the ultimate effect, however unintended, of driving the costs of owning and operating commercial or residential property beyond the capacity of private owners to maintain. This section shall not apply to patio railings in condominiums, cooperatives, or apartments.
History.—s. 8, ch. 80-163; s. 1, ch. 92-89; s. 14, ch. 93-249; s. 1, ch. 2008-191; s. 3, ch. 2008-227.
However, the HOA is not completely powerless, even with the Florida solar rights law. Because HOAs and COAs want their neighborhoods to look appealing, they do have some rights as well. HOAs and COAs may require approval of an installation and can also establish restrictions. They can also state where the solar panels can be installed. However, any restrictions must be ‘reasonable’, and apply to all association members. Furthermore, the restrictions cannot impair the solar panels performance, or increase the cost of the solar panel system. And in addition to the other requirements, the Florida solar rights law states that any placement selected by the HOA or COA must face within 45 degrees of due south for maximum sunlight exposure.
When you want to go solar, but you have an HOA or COA, be sure to get a written copy of any requirements they may have for your solar panel system. You may also have to work more closely with a COA to get your solar panels approved. Although the Florida solar rights law gives a condo owner the same as a homeowner, the fact that most condo units are connected can make it a little tricker.
If you want to put solar panels on your Florida home, don’t let your HOA or COA stop you! Sunpro Solar is here to help you get the solar panel system you’re hoping for. We’ll work with your HOA or COA to come up with the best solar panel system for you, and them.