HOAs and Solar: Myths vs. Reality
Myth: My homeowner’s association won’t allow solar.
If you live in a planned neighborhood or development, chances are you had to join a homeowner’s association (HOA) when buying your property. HOAs establish rules for a neighborhood’s aesthetic and play an important role in raising money for shared amenities.
Reality: There is good news. Your HOA should respect your solar access rights!
Washington State Legislature does not allow HOAs to prohibit solar installations, and everyone has the right to go Solar – providing the installations meet certain requirements. The Revised Code of Washington that protects Solar for Washington homeowners is RCW 64.38.060. And to read more about the legislature as a case study, go here. Twenty-five states have solar access laws on the books that protect our energy future!
Let’s break this down.
The HOA cannot prohibit a solar installation if:
- It meets health and safety standards,
- Is certified to heat water (if applicable), and
- Is built to code if producing electricity.
However, the HOA might:
- Deny a roof-mounted solar installation if it does not conform to the slope of the roof and exceeds the roofline (no “ugly” installs allowed).
- Limit solar panels to non street facing roof sections.
- Require that solar panel frames and mounting brackets be a certain color (most commonly black).
Solterra Solar is recognized for our aesthetic delivery of high-performance systems so HOAs love our work. Before your permitting process starts, Solterra asks that clients DO confirm whether they are in an HOA and if so, work with the HOA and Solterra to obtain permission for the installation. If you are experiencing a block in your Solar plans and need to convince the HOA to support you, you can click here to download a free guide to working with your HOA to install solar.
Ultimately, talking with your HOA may reveal some misconceptions about Solar Energy that Solterra can absolutely help to overcome. We provide information about aesthetics, safety, property value impacts, and can design to HOA specifications as necessary. Your Solar Design Consultant will either equip you with information or present it to your HOA board directly. Even though the HOA cannot legally prohibit properly installed solar, we can help you stay on good terms with your Homeowners Association!
If you are ready to break out of the “norm” a little bit, reach out and ask us your questions! A strong majority of the time, our client’s HOA provides a simple and enthusiastic “yes” and want to find out more for their own homes.
Your right to energy independence is supported and protected! If you’ve already checked in with your HOA and are excited for the affordable investment in your home, let’s celebrate your success and go solar!
Jessica Miller (she/her) is a PNW Native and professional sun appreciator working as a Solar Design Consultant. Her 12 year old dog Lucy is a regular at the office and makes sure Jessica plays as hard as she works. When not on a roof, she can be found in the garden or falling down research rabbit holes.
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