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Can my HOA stop me from installing solar panels?

Can my HOA stop me from installing solar panels?

Thinking about going solar but concerned about your HOA (Homeowners Association)?

You’re not alone if you’re asking, “Can my HOA stop me from installing solar panels?”

There’s a few major reasons you don’t need to worry about this. Many people living in planned developments or condos have navigated this process and now enjoy the benefits of generating their own solar energy. Let’s take a look.

Stubborn HOAs and Home Upgrades

HOAs are notorious for making it difficult to upgrade the exterior of your home. Their rules are established to enhance a neighborhood’s aesthetic while raising funds to maintain community amenities like pools or tennis courts. Therefore, changes to the look and feel of the neighborhood, or a homeowner causing changes in property value are strongly discouraged and usually prohibited. This includes solar panels, since solar panels typically increase property value. When you’re planning to go solar, you will be required to notify your association, but they cannot prevent you from having solar installed on your property. In fact, you’ll be protected by the law, especially in states like California. 

This is also true for other states, depending on state legislation. There are currently 25 states that are protected under the law for homeowners wanting to go solar. This includes: Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Read more about why your HOA can’t prevent you from renewable energy upgrades in Florida.

Homeowners Association Approvals and Solar Laws

A homeowners’ right to install a solar system is actually protected by law in many states. In the 1970s, The Solar Rights Act was enacted in California, and specifically “bars restrictions by homeowners associations (HOAs) on the installation of solar-energy systems.” So although reasonable restrictions can be made on the placement of the solar panels, they can not prohibit it. 

Even though laws ensure that HOAs cannot stop their members from installing solar on their properties, they do allow them to place “reasonable restrictions” on home solar systems. You would need to look up the rules of your community, but there’s usually an approval process for installation or other restrictions as to where the solar panels can be installed. Some solar access laws even will allow associations the right to influence the design of a rooftop solar array. A solar installer will create plans and provide the necessary documents for you to submit to your homeowner’s association regarding the installation, so they can approve the layout. 

Solar Rights Act Amendment: Even More Rights for Going Solar

Concerns usually arise as to whether or not the homeowners association will make the solar project cost-prohibitive to get approved. But in 2014, the Solar Rights Act was amended, defining how “significantly” an HOA can influence a solar installation. This amendment specifies that the amount can not exceed $1,000 over the original system cost or even decrease the efficiency of the home solar system by more than 10%.  

So… Can My HOA Stop Me from Installing Solar Panels?

The short answer is no.

But if you think your HOA is going to give you issues, talk to professionals about it who are experienced in handling these kinds of issues. The way to make the experience of going solar easy is to hire a trusted solar installation company that will follow not only the building codes and restrictions but also keep you as the homeowner within the guidelines of your Homeowners Association. Therefore, no problems will come up in the future. Sunpro Solar has over a decade of experience not only installing solar but also handling the requirements of HOAs so you can go solar with ease. 

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