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Can My HOA Stop Me from Installing Solar Panels?

homeowners association

Home solar panels are hot right now, literally. And it seems like everyone in Florida is doing it. If you're considering installing solar panels on your home but wondering what your homeowners association (HOA), deed restrictions or similar binding covenants can say about it, we have the answers here.

Homeowners' Associations and Residential Solar Energy

Community associations are specifically prohibited from preventing the installation of solar collectors on residential rooftops.

Florida law, specifically the Florida Homeowners Solar Rights Act, strives to protect solar equipment users by forbidding ordinances, deed restrictions, covenants, declarations or similar binding agreements from prohibiting the use of solar collectors or "other energy devices based on renewable resources". 

As of 2008, this protection extended to condominiums. A condominium’s board of owners may install solar collectors on association property for the benefit of its owners without approval of unit owners. Unit owners may only install devices within the boundary of their unit.

Florida law also allows for the creation of easements (in writing, and recorded and indexed in the same manner as any other instrument affecting the title to real property) for the purpose of maintaining exposure of a solar energy system to sunlight. That may mean your neighbor's tree who blocks your roof may need to be removed in order to protect your right to access the sun. Additionally, this protects you from the occasional nefarious neighbor intentionally blocking the sun.

And any requirements on the part of an HOA that a system be screened from view by trees or fences, use ground mounting racks, or installed on a remote roof location that is hidden from the street will likely violate the statute.

But you are not always completely in the clear with it comes to HOAs and solar equipment installation. While an HOA cannot prevent the installation of solar collectors on a roof, they may determine where on the roof the collectors may be installed so long as the collectors face within 45 degrees of due south and the determination does not impair their effective operation.

It should be noted that only in rare situations that an HOA could dictate that solar panels be placed anywhere other than the location that makes the most sense from a performance perspective.

What can you do if your HOA isn’t playing by the rules?

Your first line of defense is to acquaint them with the Florida law during your application to install solar.

Worst case scenario? Following your installation you can enlist legal help and potentially sue your HOA if they continue to harass you following the installation. The Florida Homeowners Solar Rights Act has been challenged, upheld, and courts have clearly sided with homeowners.

At Vinyasun, we don't let our customers get involved or handle the HOA process at any point. This policy is in place specifically to protect and preserve our clients home and the relationships they have in their community. However, we do communicate the status of your project on a recurring basis. So the homeowner is in the know. 

 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can FPL or my HOA prevent me from switching to solar?

The Florida Solar Rights Act is a law that forbids any entity—including homeowner associations—from prohibiting the installation of solar or other renewable energy devices on Florida buildings.

An association may require approval of a system installation and may establish restrictions for installations. However, any such restrictions must be reasonable, not arbitrary, and applied in a uniform manner for all association members. Also, any restrictions must not have the effect of impairing the performance, or increasing the cost, of a solar system.

In particular, a homeowner association may not prevent the installation of solar collectors on the roof of a home. The association may determine where on the roof the collectors may be installed, so long as the collectors face within 45 degrees of due south.

Finally, any requirement(s) that a system be screened from view by trees, fences, ground mounting racks, or a remote roof location that is hidden from the street, will generally violate the statute.

Click here to verify information is provided by the Florida Solar Energy Industry Association

Is solar free for Florida homeowners?
  • The sun is free to everyone.
  • Solar panels and specific back-up battery systems qualify for a number of rebates, tax credits and incentives.
  • There is a cost associated with solar energy because you are paying for your system. 
  • Financing enables homeowners to make the transition with $0 upfront costs
  • Systems often cost the same amount monthly as your current FPL bill
  • Solar puts equity in your home because you own the system and increases the value a minimum of 4.1% - click here for the Zillow case study

Does solar increase my home value?

Not only can adding solar panels to a home save energy costs and help the environment, it also can potentially increase a home’s value. In 2019 Zillow found that homes with solar energy systems sold for 4.1% more on average than comparable homes without solar power. For the median-valued home, that translates to an additional $9,274.

The sale premium varies substantially by market. In Riverside, Calif., for example, homes with solar-energy systems sold for 2.7% more than comparable homes without solar power—a markup of $9,926 for the median-valued home in the metro. In the greater New York City metro, solar-powered homes have a premium that is double that of Riverside. At 5.4%, that’s an extra $23,989 in value for the typical home in New York. In three other coastal metro areas—Los Angeles, San Francisco and Orlando, Fla.—homes with solar power can fetch a premium of around 4%.

Sun travels 91 million miles to power your home-1

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