Although HOAs typically have the right to govern certain cosmetic changes to a property, from landscaping to paint color to renovations, not all HOAs have the right to reject a homeowner’s request to add solar panels to their home thanks to something called solar access rights. There are two types of solar access rights that give you the ability to add solar panels for your home: solar easements and solar access laws.
Solar Access Laws
These are governed on a state level and limit or altogether prohibit restrictions on installing solar panels. Depending on the state where you live, these laws might prevent HOAs from being able to deny your request for installation. However, some HOAs may still have the right to dictate how the solar panels are installed on your property with both structural and aesthetic stipulations. These might include no ground-mounted solar panels or requiring solar panels to be installed in a way so they are not immediately visible to the passerby.
Solar Easement Laws
These laws essentially help homeowners protect the sunshine their solar panels receive. The laws give residents a way to negotiate legally with neighbors to prevent obstructions like structures or trees that could potentially shade their solar panels. These easements are voluntary and need to be put in writing. The easements necessitate a detailed description including height restrictions of where the easement will be. There can also be a clause for termination of the easement, compensation for maintenance related to the easement, or fees paid if the neighbor violates the easement.
Solar Rights Act
In California, the Solar Rights Act was established in 1978 and it limits a HOA’s ability to prevent installation. All California residents have solar easement rights, and they benefit from the Solar Shade Control Act that prohibits a tree branch from blocking the sun received by the solar panels, provided the tree was planted after the panels were installed.
It may also help your cause to reinforce all the positive benefits of going solar, including saving money and increased property value. If all else fails, the law is on your side. Learn more about going solar from the experts at CES Solar San Diego. We’ve been helping families make the switch to solar in San Diego for years and can help you do the same. Just call us at 1-855-45-COAST to schedule a free consultation.