I am fighting for my right to go solar – and need your help

By Nancy Simmett on March 15, 2021

Nancy Simmet is an HOA homeowner and Solar United Neighbors solar advocate.

Like more and more Minnesotans, I want to produce clean, renewable solar energy from my rooftop. But there is a problem. My home is part of a Homeowners Association (HOA).

My HOA has blocked my effort to go solar. As I have learned more about this issue, I have discovered that this is a common occurrence for HOA homeowners that want to go solar. This is slowing the growth of rooftop solar in our state.

Fortunately, there is a way forward. Our lawmakers are considering bills (House File 257 & Senate File 2267) that would give HOA homeowners like me the right to go solar. HOAs could still place reasonable restrictions on the solar array. But they could not block it. The legislation has bi-partisan support in the House and Senate. If it passes, my dream to go solar can become reality.

Please, let your state legislators know you support this legislation by clicking here: Tell lawmakers to protect solar in Minnesota from unfair HOA limits

This issue impacts a lot of Minnesotans. Minnesota has 7,725 HOAs. There are 1,506,000 Minnesotans living in these HOAs. That is just over 1 in 4 Minnesotans. Many HOA homes like mine are perfect for solar. I have a large, flat roof and no shading from trees.

My story

I have owned my home in the Oakpointe of Eagan Homeowners Association since 1999. I even served on the first community board of the association. During the summer of 2020, I learned of federal and local incentives that are available to install t solar.

Due to an interest in the environment and COVID giving me nothing but time to research, I dug in. I gathered information on solar installations and solar companies. I found a local solar company that put together a comprehensive package that met my home’s specifications.

Next, I approached my HOA board to apply for approval. I forwarded the information and filled out the HOA application form they require for outside changes or construction. I submitted all the information on October 13, 2020.

I received the rejection email the following day.

This rejection came with basically no discussion between the board members, or with me. The board opted to just follow the HOA’s outdated bylaws. These haven’t been updated since 1999..

HOAs should welcome solar

I was and still am very disappointed in this rejection. It is wrong and bad for HOA homeowners. Why?

I believe in renewable energy. The consequences of NOT moving forward are real.

I believe Minnesota can be a leader in renewable energy. We can develop businesses and manufacturing jobs to meet our future head on!

And, I believe with proper restrictions, that HOA homeowners have a right to put solar energy panels on our own roofs. Solar panels are architecturally attractive. They are an update that improves the association as a forward-thinking community in which people want to live.

Since the rejection, I ran and got voted on to the Oakpointe Association board. Now I can say as a HOA homeowner and board member, I strongly support this legislation.

Please, let your legislator know that you support it too – Tell lawmakers to protect solar in Minnesota from unfair HOA limits!