It is a common misconception that a homeowners’ association (HOA) can prohibit its members from installing solar panels. Depending on the state in which you live, laws give homeowners the right to do so. An HOA does have the ability, however, to restrict where and how an installation is done. Many states have enacted laws protecting homeowners’ rights to generate solar electricity. Luckily, Florida is one of them, thanks to Florida Statute 163. There are two categories these laws generally fall under solar access laws and solar easements.
Solar Access Laws
Solar access laws ensure that HOAs cannot prohibit members from installing solar systems on their properties. These laws, however, do allow the HOAs to place “reasonable restrictions” on solar systems. For example, the Florida Statute allows HOAs to “determine the specific location where solar collectors may be installed on the roof within an orientation to the south or within 45° east or west of due south if such determination does not impair the effective operation of the solar collectors.” It’s very important to remain current with your HOA’s regulations, and always request permission before installing to ensure you are following the rules.
Solar easements are voluntary agreements that individual property owners enter into with their neighbors or HOAs. These allow the homeowner to ensure their solar systems have access to the sunlight needed to remain productive. Within these agreements, a homeowner can specify many different things. For example, a homeowner can enforce that their neighbor keeps their trees trimmed. They could also restrict their neighbor from building additions to their home that obstruct the solar panels. Many states protect the rights of their residents to negotiate solar easements with their neighbors and HOAs. According to Florida Statute 704.07, negotiation of solar easements is allowed to guarantee that a property owner’s solar panels get enough sun exposure.
When it comes to converting to solar energy, there are many benefits to living in Florida. There are laws protecting your right to install a solar system, incentives such as tax credits, and an abundance of sunshine to charge your panels and provide you with clean energy! Just be sure to be up to date with the rules and restrictions within your HOA or area.