If you’ve been following the solar energy legislation, terms like “net metering”, solar subsidies” and “solar rebate funding” are not new. But with several pending legislative actions in many states across the country, and fierce jockeying on both sides, many homeowners are left wondering what their solar rights are.
It is precisely this question that led states like Florida to pass laws like the Florida Home Owners Solar Rights Act. This act expressly forbids any home owners association from prohibiting the installation of solar panels. Further, the act states that no deed restrictions, covenants, or similar binding agreements can prohibit solar collectors, clotheslines, or other energy devices based on renewable resources from being installed on buildings erected on the lots or parcels covered by the deed restrictions, covenants, or binding agreements.
In short, a property owner may not be denied permission to install solar collectors. And Florida is not the only state to enact such a law. The 82nd Texas legislature enacted HB 362, which prohibits a HOA from including or enforcing a provision in its dedicatory instruments that prohibits or restricts a homeowner from installing a solar energy device, and California has had a similar Solar Rights Act on the books since 1978.
According to the website, www.solarreviews.com about two dozen states have laws that are designed to protect a homeowners right to install solar energy systems, and limit the homeowner’s association’s ability to prohibit them.
So if you are thinking about a solar energy system and wondering what your rights are, the first step is to contact your local state legislature and find out what your states’ laws are regarding solar panels. Chances are, you might have more rights than you think.
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