The bottom line is no, there are only a few states that do not have Solar Rights Laws and you’re not in one of them.
Homeowners’ associations (HOAs) dictate how some neighborhoods are allowed to appear from an aesthetic perspective. Though many HOAs have tried to prevent homeowners from installing solar panels, state law prohibits them from doing so.
Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas have passed Solar Rights Laws which guarantee an HOA resident’s right to install solar panels with few exceptions.
In Arizona, HOAs can create some limits with regard to solar panel installations. These limitations cannot prohibit solar panels outright or effectively prohibit them by making solar too expensive or complicated to install. Senate Bill 1254, enacted in July 2007, stipulates that a homeowners’ association may not prohibit the installation or use of solar-energy devices (panels and associated devices). An association may, however, adopt reasonable rules regarding the placement of a solar device if those rules do not prevent the installation of the device, impair the functioning of the device, restrict its use, or adversely affect the cost or efficiency of the device. The bill also grants reasonable attorney fees to any party who substantially prevails in litigation against an association’s board of directors.
Texas law protects your right to go solar but there are some limits. Although an HOA cannot block your system, they can tell you where to install panels. You can fight this if you can prove their restriction would lower the annual energy production of your system by more than 10%. Additionally, Texas law allows HOAs to restrict installations under the following conditions:
- The system is installed without prior approval by the HOA.
- The installation is located on common property within the subdivision.
- The system is installed in a way that voids its warranties.
- The system has an element that is not in a silver, bronze, or black tone.
- The installation extends higher than the roofline, does not conform to the slope of the roof, or is not parallel to the roofline.
- The system is ground-mounted and extends above the homeowner’s fence.
- The solar energy devices are illegal or violate public health and safety.
If you live in Historic Districts, the passage of the Solar Consumer Protection Act means that your application to install solar panels will no longer be treated any different than other homes.
New Mexico prohibits a county or municipality from restricting the installation of a solar collector (solar panels and associated devices) except for in historic districts. Homeowners’ associations may regulate the installation or use of solar panels so long as the regulations do not effectively prohibit their installation or use. If the imposition of pre-approval requirements by an HOA can be shown to make the installation or use of solar panels prohibitively difficult or costly in a given case, the requirement would be void and unenforceable as a matter of law.
Nevada law prohibits the HOA from enforcing a restriction on solar panels that decreases the efficiency or performance of the solar panels by more than 10 percent of the amount that was originally specified for the panels and that does not allow for the use of an alternative solar energy system at a substantially comparable cost and with substantially comparable efficiency and performance. Furthermore, the HOA may not require you to use solar components painted with black solar glazing.
Icon Power is your neighborhood solar advocate. We’ll help you mitigate any potential headaches (like dealing with the HOA) that might occur when you’re going solar. Remember, if you’re in one of the above states, the HOA likely cannot prohibit you from installing solar!