What You Need to Know About Going Solar and HOAs.

There’s nothing more frustrating than getting your hopes up about doing something and then being told you cannot do it. Especially when it comes to home improvement projects you have your heart set on. You may have experienced this before if you have a Homeowner’s Association (HOA).

 In the solar world, we are no stranger to this concept. Luckily, HOAs are seeing the light and are becoming a lot more relaxed with their policies regarding solar, and increasingly they’re welcoming installations.  If you have an HOA and are considering solar, here are some things you should know:

1.     It’s a good idea to check your HOA policies before you book an appointment.

You don’t want to be that person who takes time to do research and meets with a solar consultant, just to be told by your HOA that you cannot have a system installed. It is an HOAs job to define and enforce a neighborhood’s aesthetic rules, among other functions so they do have the power to restrict solar. It only makes sense to take a look at your neighborhood’s policies before your appointment and see if they have any restrictions regarding solar.  

2.     Your HOA might not ban solar, but they could have restrictions.

As we previously mentioned, a majority of homeowner’s associations will allow solar, but some will have policies stating solar cannot be visible from the street among other rules and restrictions.  Some HOAs will require that they approve the proposed layout of the solar array before they will let you go ahead with installation. Doing this homework will save you time and enable your solar consultant to be as efficient and cost effective as possible if they need to avoid putting solar on certain portions of your roof. 

3.     No doesn’t always mean no.

Sometimes an HOA has not updated their rules or policies simply because nobody in the neighborhood has asked them about it recently. Many HOA restrictions are based on outdated technologies like “solar heat panels,” which are obsolete today.

Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask if they could reconsider their policies. There’s always a chance their opinions may have changed, or a new HOA board member could have joined who might be able to convince the board to approve solar. Every year solar panels are becoming more and more common, especially here in the Midwest.

4.     More states are passing laws.

Both Indiana and Ohio currently have bills going through their state legislatures regarding homeowner’s associations prohibiting access to solar. If passed, Ohio and Indiana would join the 25 other states that already have HOA solar access laws in place. These bills would expand energy choices and uphold property rights for individuals.

The good news is that HOA obstacles to solar arrays are rare as the switch to solar increasingly gains momentum. People have the desire – and the right – to produce their own, clean energy. If you have an HOA, we hope you find this information helpful and our experts would be happy to answer any of your additional questions.