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Home Solar Panels and HOA Rules that Affect Them

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When thinking about home solar panels and HOA rules, the homeowner must consider several factors. First, will the solar panels be supplying electricity, or hot water. The use of solar to produce electricity requires the homeowner to discover the amounts of electricity that each of the appliances, and various types of equipment use. Due to the cost, and amount of space required, the typical homeowner can expect to replace only a fraction of what their total electrical needs are. However, the use of solar panels for the production of hot water is different. The amount of space required for these types of panels is considerable less, and because they contain standard, common components, they are less costly. Indeed, with very limited roof coverage, a typical solar powered hot water system can produce enough hot water to supply the needs of an average family. Second, the homeowner must consider the rules and regulations of the HOA, and lastly, the logistics of installing solar panels must be considered.

All HOAs (Home Owner’s Association) have a set of rules that the owners must agree to abide by. These rules are commonly referred to as The CC&Rs, or Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions. It is essentially a grouping of rules that inform the owner as to what is not allowed, and what the responsibilities of the owner are, as a resident and member of that association. Because it is a binding contract, the Board of Directors of the Association has the authority to enforce the rules as stated within the CC&Rs. Therefore, when considering installation of home solar panels and HOA rules, the homeowner should familiarize themselves with their CC&Rs, and any state and local laws that may affect them. Because the use of solar panels directly affects the environment and the amount of energy that must be produced from conventional sources, state and local governments are changing laws to accommodate their use. Fortunately, many states and municipalities have made changes to the laws affecting HOAs, and the addition and use of solar panels.

Solar panels are typically mounted to the roof of the building. This is done because it places the panels closer to sun light, and prevents other objects from blocking sun light intended for the panels. However, some HOAs have rules prohibiting attachments to the buildings because they interfere with their attempt to have a homogeneous looking neighborhood. Attaching home solar panels and HOA rules may clash if the CC&Rs have restrictions concerning building attachments. Of course, the panels can also be installed at ground level, providing there is room and the panels will not be obstructed by plant life. Since HOAs can become an obstacle to the installation of solar panels, the homeowner should consult an expert in the field, because they will be familiar with the current laws affecting solar panels. Moreover, they will be able to find a suitable location for the panels that will provide the optimum benefit, and reduce the chances of being denied by the HOA.