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
- Running and walking paths
- Gas and charcoal grills
- 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 consultation!