HOAs and Solar Panels – Blue Raven Solar


Installing Solar Panels in an HOA Community

Can an HOA decide if you, as a homeowner, can add solar panels to your home? The short answer is (usually) no. However, the explanation as to why is more complicated. 


An HOA exists to define and enforce rules in a particular community which homeowners must follow to maintain the standards and to protect property values. These restrictions often include guidelines around the installation and use of solar panels. The legal documents which outline these rules and regulations are called Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) and are usually created by the developer of the community and are recorded with the county recorder’s office.


In response to HOAs restricting homeowners’ ability to install solar panels, many states have established solar access laws to help protect your solar power rights. These laws can limit the restrictions an HOA can place on solar installations. Related laws, sometimes referred to as solar easements are agreements which ensure your right to sunlight is not obstructed by trees or structures on neighboring properties.


If you find yourself at odds with an HOA not allowing solar panel installations or use, do not despair. Blue Raven Solar handles the HOA review and approval process for all of its customers. Generally, across the U.S., state and local laws are becoming more supportive of alternative, clean energy solutions like solar power. 


Some states allow HOAs to govern the location or types of solar panels but not outright prohibit them. For example, in Illinois, an HOA may restrict where you place your solar panels, but only if it doesn’t reduce expected production by 10% or more.


While an HOA may not have the authority to fully restrict the installation of solar panels, it may specify certain conditions or requirements such as: 


  • Legal and Safety Violations related to solar energy devices which are deemed illegal or violate public health and safety regulations.


  • Common Property in cases where the solar panels are located on common or shared property within the subdivision.


  • Roofline and Aesthetics if the solar panels extend higher than the roofline, do not conform to the slope of the roof, or are not parallel to the roofline.


It’s important to review your HOA’s guidelines and your state’s specific laws to understand any potential restrictions or exceptions which may apply to your situation. We explore solar access laws, solar easements, and the HOA approval process in greater detail below.


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