As more homes opt to go solar, some states are making it legal for homes under a Homeowners Association (HOA) to install solar panels on their home. Florida is taking solar seriously even when it comes to changing or creating laws that protect homeowners against the rules imposed by HOAs.
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, here is everything you need to know:
Homeowners’ Associations and Residential Solar Energy
Under Title XI, chapter 163, and found at 163.04: Energy devices based on renewable resources – Florida law spells out the law. The statute says that no entity through deed restriction, covenant, declaration, or any other similarly structured binding agreement can prevent, delay, or prohibit the installation of solar collectors or other energy devices that function based on renewable energy. Even clotheslines are legal. Community associations and HOA are expressly prohibited from preventing the installation of solar collectors on residential rooftops.
Can your HOA stop you from installing solar panels on your roof? No.
The statute goes beyond HOA’s to include condo’s too, and the laws work in both directions. Not only are condo owners able to install solar panels on their roof, but a condominium’s board may install solar collectors on association property for the benefit of its owners without the approval of unit owners. Because condos are attached units, the condo owner may only install solar panels on their unit. Florida’s law also allows for the creation of easements that would prohibit solar blocking.
An example would be planting trees that would shade the solar array or building new units that would block the incoming solar radiation from the unit. The laws help protect the rights of those who invest in renewable solar energy from actions that would limit the ability of the solar array from being beneficial. The Florida Law also protects condo owners.
The Fine Print for HOA’s
The law is clear. An HOA cannot bar you from installing solar panels. They can, however, tell you where on the roof the panels may or may not be installed. The fine print says that so long the panels can receive full sun and the restrictions do not negatively impact the array’s performance. In simple terms, the HOA may tell you where the panels may go on the roof, but only if their suggestion does not limit the array’s production to capture energy.
How to work with an HOA or Condo Committee to go solar:
- Approach the HOA with your plans and asked about their policies. Remember that they cannot deny you, but they likely have policies. If you have a plan in place with a map of where the solar panels will go, be sure to share that with them, along with any permits you have.
- Ensure they know that you are the primary person for communication so that they do not go to your contractor. All communications should be between you and the HOA or legal parties as needed.
- If there is trouble — politely inform them of the laws. It helps when both parties have all the same information.
- If the trouble persists, seek legal help. There have been cases that have challenged The Florida Homeowners Solar Rights Act, and each time, the law was upheld, and courts have sided with homeowners.
Resources and Further Reading