Impact of HOA on Residential Solar Installation

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Last Updated on November 1, 2023 by admin

HOA & Solar Panel Installation: Switch to Solar in Homeowner Association

If you live in a community where there is a homeowner’s association (HOA), you are probably already aware of the requirements for getting approval for specific modifications and home improvement tasks. The good news is that HOAs no longer have sole authority over whether or not you can install solar panels.
HOAs are not allowed to restrict solar panels in about twenty-four states, including Texas. The HOA agreement that limits solar panel installation is superseded by these regulations.

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Important Points To Remember

  • HOA is a group that establishes and upholds rules for the properties and residents in a subdivision, planned community, or housing project.
  • Solar access laws and solar easements are the two types of solar access rights that guarantee a homeowner’s right to install solar power.
  • Solar access rules make it illegal for HOAs to prevent their members from installing a solar panel system on their land.
  • Even if your state has solar access regulations, HOA rules may compel you to change your approach and think outside the box.
  • Advocating for a good solar policy in your state is one option, but it is a long-term solution.

What's in this Article?

What Is a Homeowner Association (HOA)?

A homeowner association (HOA) is a group that establishes and upholds rules for the properties and residents in a subdivision, planned community, or housing project. Anybody who buys property inside an HOA’s boundaries automatically joins and is required to pay dues, sometimes known as HOA fees. While some associations may provide homeowners more freedom, others may be highly limiting about what members may do with their properties.
One of the many factors that HOAs may try to restrict is the installation of solar panels. Thus it’s beneficial to be aware of any restrictions that might have an impact on your solar installation if you intend to purchase solar panels in the future.

What are the Solar Access Rights of Homeowners to Go Solar?

Solar access laws and solar easements are the two types of solar access rights that guarantee a homeowner’s right to install solar power. They both defend your right to use solar energy, but they deal with different issues.

1-Solar Access Laws:

These regulations at the state level prohibit or place restrictions on solar installation. An HOA cannot legally prevent a homeowner from installing solar panels on their land in Texas. Even though these rules guarantee a homeowner’s right to install solar, HOAs have the right to impose limitations on where and how it is installed.

What is the Role of Solar Access Law in HOA?

According to Texas Property Code 202.010, HOAs is not allowed to incorporate or enforce clauses in their rules, covenants, or bylaws that forbid or restrict residents from installing solar energy systems. While this secures a homeowner’s right to install solar panels, there are still a few restrictions that provide HOAs the authority to control solar panel installation in specific circumstances. The HOA may specify where the panels should be placed on the roof, according to the law. The homeowner can get around this by demonstrating how the designation interferes with the performance of the solar panels. When it comes to installation restrictions, residents of historic neighborhoods could encounter additional difficulties. These limitations differ by neighborhood and property, but they often include clauses that protect the building’s integrity and appearance. Austin City Law 25-2-356, in particular, permits historic districts to include sustainable practices like solar technology and other energy-saving measures.

2-Solar Easements

In states where solar easements are in place, property owners can bargain with their neighbors to ensure the sunshine that reaches their land and take precautions to avoid barriers like big trees or structures in their neighbor’s yard.

What is the Role of Solar Access Law in HOA?

Some solar easements would address tree trimming to prevent sunlight interruption or restricting home additions that may shadow too much of a property and interfere with solar power generation.

Also, Solar easements are especially important if you live in a fast-expanding neighborhood where the building is brisk or new residents are coming in. They are, however, beneficial in any neighborhood where property owners are concerned about enough solar power generation.

Depending on where you reside, you may be able to obtain state protection while negotiating solar easements with your HOA and neighbors. The more progressive a state is in the renewable energy sector, the greater its protection.

What are the Homeowner's perceptions and difficulties in an HOA?

The following scenarios are real-life examples that reflect a wide range of circumstances that arise along the way.

Case 1: Usually, there’s a myth that panels produce glare that can affect the sale of neighborhood property. In this way, builders are very reluctant to approve solar installation.

Case 2: A homeowner is thinking about buying a solar panel system. Due to deed limitations, the system must not be visible from the street and the house is situated in a corner lot.

Case 3: The rooftop and outside of the homeowner by a homeowner association. The request to build a solar energy system is refused because they are concerned that the roof warranties will be invalid. That accountability for any harm to the common property is a question.

Can My HOA Stop Me from Installing Solar Panels?

Solar access rules make it illegal for HOAs to prevent their members from installing a solar panel system on their land. These laws were passed by the government to encourage more homeowners to install solar panels and use renewable energy sources.

What are the strategies for streamlining the HOA application process?

strategies for streamlining the HOA application process (4)

There are a few key strategies to remember that may make the process of obtaining HOA solar approval easier and boost the likelihood of a successful conclusion.

1- Knowledge of your State’s Law: It is important to know your state’s existing legislation, including whether they give protection from HOA solar limitations and what forms they take. The exact requirements of solar access regulations differ greatly by state, and the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency contains extensive information concerning state and local restrictions (DSIRE).

2- Learn about the HOA approval process:  Check out the HOA’s guidelines for PV panel installation early on, including any design and placement restrictions. Even if your state has solar access legislation, these can have an impact on components of the installation process, such as system price. 

3- Maintain a Smooth HOA Application Procedure:  It helps to demonstrate that you understand how to speed up the approval process. You should be aware of how PV panels can boost property values and be able to provide examples of successful installations in similar neighborhoods and home types.

4-Be Creative and Flexible: Even if your state has solar access regulations, HOA rules may compel you to change your approach and think outside the box.

5- Learn about Solar Opportunities and HOAs: Knowing more about HOAs is an excellent method to improve the HOA approval process.  

What are the application requirements of HOA to install solar?

An application for a construction permit for the installation of solar panel systems must include all requested information, including but not limited to:

  • Elevation drawings to scale that depict the location and height of the solar panel installation.
  • A letter from a professional engineer stating that the roof will support the system’s structural load.

In the face of these facts, the solution is to be astute. Advocating for a good solar policy in your state is one option, but it is a long-term solution. You’re up against entrenched monopolies, so you’ll need to be practical. You can play the utility companies’ game with smart planning and well-designed software and still come ahead.

In states where net metering is unavailable, you can still save money with solar, and Solar SME will show you how.

Reach out and request FREE Solar Quote for your home. If you have some questions in mind, you can give us a call at 214-556-8288. Our energy experts will help you out with their assistance.

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