Homeowners associations and solar access
If you live in a planned development or condominium, chances are you had to join a homeowners association (HOA) upon buying your property. HOAs establish rules for a neighborhood’s aesthetic and raise money for shared amenities like pools and tennis courts.
Your HOA may restrict where and how you install your system. It may even prohibit you from outright installing solar. Many states, however, have enacted laws protecting homeowners’ rights to generate solar electricity. These laws generally fall under two categories: solar access laws and solar easements.
Solar access laws
Solar access laws ensure that governing HOAs cannot prohibit their members from installing solar on their properties. However, they do often allow HOAs to place “reasonable restrictions” on solar systems. For example, some solar access laws allow HOAs to retain the right to influence the design of a rooftop solar array. In many cases, HOA members may still need to request permission before installing their solar panels and ensure all electrical wiring is out of sight. Click on your state below to learn more about local solar access laws.
Solar easements are voluntary agreements that individual property owners enter into with their neighbors or governing bodies (like HOAs). They allow the property owner to ensure their system gets enough sunlight to remain productive. An easement can specify many different things, such as requiring your neighbor keep their trees trimmed or restricting them from building an addition that would obstruct your solar panels. Some states protect the rights of their residents to negotiate solar easements with their neighbors and HOAs. Click your state below for more information.
Protecting solar access
Solar United Neighbors is fighting to protect and deepen solar access for homeowners and property owners across the country. Click here to download our free guide to working with your HOA to install solar. We’re working with solar supporters on the ground in our nine states to ensure that installing solar is not made unduly burdensome by HOAs or other governing bodies. Whether it’s protecting Pennsylvania solar homeowners from HOA interference or prohibiting D.C. HOAs from preventing solar installations, we are working to strengthen solar access rights.