Know the Ins-and-Outs of HOA and Solar Panels Installation

solar panel installation

Aside from taking care of the trash and making sure your community pool is always clean, your homeowners’ association (HOA) has a lot of pull when it comes to remodeling your home or outfitting it with certain appliances. 

Overall, you may think that something like adding solar panels to your home is harmless, and even a good option for conserving resources, but in most cases, there’s an approval process you’ll need to follow before anything can happen. Needless to say, preparing yourself for any potential obstacles can help get your solar panels up and running when the time comes. 

If your home is subject to the rules of an HOA, then here’s what you should know about the role they play in solar panel installation

What’s the Purpose of an HOA?

First off, an HOA’s main objective is to make sure that each property in the community is held to a high standard. 

Essentially, this means bolstering property values with maintenance efforts, complying with state property laws, and upholding board regulations set up by community members and the HOA’s Board of Directors. Because of their dedication to creating a desirable, valuable place to live, lots of homeowners can enjoy their property without dealing with tedious chores and expenses often associated with living in a residential area, such as mowing lawns and raking leaves. 

Other HOA Benefits 

There are tons of benefits that living under an HOA can provide for a homeowner. Some of these include…

  • Community pools
  • Basketball courts
  • Volleyball Courts
  • Hot tubs
  • Saunas
  • Playgrounds
  • Running and walking paths
  • Gas and charcoal grills
  • Clubhouses
  • Patios areas

Anyone living in the community can take advantage of what an HOA has to offer, and upkeep for each benefit comes from membership dues that each homeowner pays monthly. 

How Does an HOA Affect Solar Panel Installation?

Your HOA is in charge of making sure that each property is presentable and appealing to its neighbors, as well as the general public in terms of selling real estate. 

With that in mind, solar panel installation tends to disrupt those ideals. In most cases, solar panels have to be installed on the roof of a building or attached to the side of a home. Instantly, this creates an unpleasant appearance in the eyes of board members. Not to mention, some of your neighbors may complain that your solar panels are obstructing their view or creating an ugly “aesthetic” that may drive down property values as a whole. 

Altogether, your main recourse is to check with your HOA representatives to see what options are available to you. For instance, you may have to submit a proposal of your solar panel installation plans with your location and installation costs intact. That being said, if your HOA is making the process extra difficult, you may have some legal rights to fall back on that can bypass restrictions. 

Solar Access Rights to Understand

If your HOA is against you installing solar panels on your home, many states have solar access rights that you can take advantage of to overcome the pushback. 

Places like California, Texas, Florida, Utah, and Arizona (lots of sunny places) have laws known as “Solar Access Rights” that prohibit HOAs from denying homeowners access to solar energy, whether it be through contract agreements or verbal reprimands. 

Even on a Federal level, past legislation efforts introduced The American Clean Energy and Security Act, which was a national measure to forbid HOAs from restricting solar panel installation on homeowner property. Sadly, the bill didn’t pass, but it opened the doorway for state legislators to make an impact on energy conservation efforts on a residential level. 

To ensure that you have solar access rights at your disposal, be sure to check with your state’s laws before launching a campaign against your HOA. After all, you do have to live there, so try your best to make any disputes or proposals as friendly and cordial as possible. 

Be Open-minded and Work with Your HOA

The last thing you want is to create an unpleasant living situation for yourself, so always be open-minded and work with your HOA to come up with the best solution for your solar panel installation. 

Half of all states in the U.S. have rights in place to protect solar panel installation, so chances are that your HOA already accounts for it and has active measures in place to appease homeowners. However, in case there’s no precedent to work from, use your voice to participate in HOA meetings, work with your rep to devise a fair plan, and talk with your neighbors to respect their wishes and honor your own. 

With a little ingenuity and flexibility, you’d be surprised at what you can come up with. Who knows, maybe by you leading the pack, the rest of your community will be inspired to get solar panels, too! If and when they do, contact Solartime USA to get the job done. 

Contact us today for a free solar panel installation consultation! 

Solar Panels and Hail Damage: How to Protect Your Solar Panels

solar panels hail damage

With hail season in full swing, protect your solar panels from hail damage to keep their energy supply in working condition. 

Solar panels and hail damage can happen in the blink of an eye. One minute the sun is shining bright across the Lone Star state, then suddenly, debris the size of golfballs rattles down and wreaks havoc that’s often expensive and stressful to repair. 

Needless to say, there are several ways to mitigate Mother Nature’s actions to ensure your safety at all times. If you’re curious as to how you can stay ahead of any potential problems, here’s how to protect your solar panels from hail damage: 

Know What Your Solar Panels Can Withstand

According to research from the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), a survey of 50,000 solar photovoltaic (PV) systems installed in the U.S. between 2009 and 2013 found that only 0.1% of them were damaged or classified as malfunctioned each yearly review. 

This means that solar panels have outstanding durability when it comes to extreme weather patterns. In fact, manufacturers actually test their solar panels to ensure that hail storms won’t be an issue. 

Generally, solar panels can endure hailstones up to one inch in size (25mm) at a falling speed of 50 miles per hour. To give you an idea of how this translates in a real scenario, back in 2017, the NREL campus in Golden, CO faced a devastating hail storm that shattered car windows and left dents in homeowners’ roofs. Surprisingly, of the 3,000 panels on their building, only one was broken, which means when worrying about a situation between your solar panels and hail, you can trust that your panels hold up pretty well in the face of danger.

Stay Up-to-date with Local Weather Reports

Now that you know how resilient your solar panels are, your next best move is to stay up-to-date with local weather reports so you can anticipate any serious strikes. 

There are some great resources that residents in North Texas can take advantage of when it comes to weather preparedness. Here are a few of them to consider:

  • Sign Up for Text Alerts: The Office of Emergency Management in Fort Worth offers a free text alert system for anyone who inquires. All you have to do is text your zip code to 888777 or register online. Within minutes, you’ll get a detailed report that notifies you about any impending hail storms or severe weather attacks. 
  • Download Weather Apps On Your Phone: Thanks to technology, you can get access to detailed weather reports in a matter of seconds by downloading weather apps on your smartphone or mobile device. Weather Underground, The Weather Channel, and RadarScope are some of the best weather apps of 2019 for you to stay informed, so train yourself to do daily check-ups during hail season. 
  • Find Shelter In Case of Emergencies: Hail storms may only do minimal damage to your solar panels, but they can do much more to your car, home, or even yourself! With this in mind, it’s best to choose a designated shelter for you and your loved ones to retreat to in case of emergencies. This can be a basement, a secure part of your home, or a covered parking space.
  • Get Comprehensive Insurance Coverage: Lastly, many parts of North Texas offer comprehensive insurance packages that cover natural disasters. This means that if your solar panels (or any other parts of your home) are damaged from hail, you can get them replaced without having to pay a fortune. Just make sure to check over your homeowner policy to ensure that it includes solar panels. In most cases, a panel may have to be removed and reinstalled so a roofer can fix a damaged roof. 

Perform Regular Maintenance to Your Solar Panels

Although hail storms are unpredictable in terms of how much damage they can cause, it’s always a good idea to perform regular maintenance to your solar panels to ensure they work properly and are ready for anything.

For instance, you can do several things to keep your solar panels running at optimum levels. Plus, the workload is relatively simple: 

  • Keep Your Solar Panels Clean: All kinds of grime and debris can stifle the abilities of your solar panels over time. On a regular basis, make sure to clean them with water and wipe them free of dust, rain residue, bird excrement, tree limbs, or pollen. In some cases, hiring a professional to clean your solar panels is a good idea to avoid dangerous heights. 
  • Install a Solar Panel Cover: Some solar companies may provide you with a protective cloth that covers your solar panels from light debris and buildup. However, remember that your equipment is quite durable on its own! That being said, there aren’t too many mainstream options when it comes to dedicated solar panel covers, although you can install your own using plexiglass from your local hardware store. 

Keep Your Solar Panels Protected No Matter What

Despite how strong your solar panels may be against the elements, nothing beats the reassurance and know-how of a solar panel company professional at Solartime USA

Our team provides custom solar designs to ensure your new solar panels fit perfectly to your home, along with them performing at their highest levels to give you maximum energy at an affordable cost. 

To learn more about our residential solar panels, custom solar designs, or to inquire about maintenance issues, please contact Solartime USA today.