Everyone should have the freedom to install solar panels in their home.
That’s a cry for many homeowners across Virginia who are either battling with their HOAs because of restrictions on solar panel installations or those who’ve already been defeated.
In 2020, the Virginia General Assembly passed the SB 504 Virginia Energy Plan prohibiting HOAs from imposing unreasonable restrictions on homeowners who wish to go solar. The said law specifies that a restriction is deemed unreasonable if:
- It increases system cost by more than 5% over the proposed design
- Decreases system performance by more than 10% over the proposed design
Ever since the law was passed, more HOAs have relaxed their restrictions. However, we’re still hearing reports of certain entities who are still finding ways to restrict their residents from installing solar panels.
Some developer-led HOAs are still making their case through changes in their covenants “until all or nearly all lots are sold.” This is especially unfair for those who’ve already bought their homes without these prohibitions from the get-go and were only later told of such.
If this type of situation becomes a hindrance to you switching to solar, here are some tips that can help you sort it out.
1. Hire a Specialist
According to Virginia & D.C. Association Law Firm Chadwick Washington, you can challenge the reasonability of a restriction by providing documentation prepared by an independent solar panel design specialist, Certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, and Licensed in Virginia.
In this way, any technical aspect that might come into question can be verified by a solar professional.
2. Know your Rights
Dig deep. Learn more about the restrictions being imposed, when they were imposed and if you’re eligible for the ruling. And if you have hesitations as to how you can fend off your HOA, you can seek help from Solar United Neighbors.
3. Do your research
The most common reason for HOAs to disapprove a homeowner’s request to install solar panels is because they’re unsure how it could potentially affect the neighborhood aesthetic (particularly if the homes are row houses) and because it may lower the home’s market value.
This is actually contrary to what is happening. Studies show that homes with solar panels have sold faster than those without.
With that knowledge, make your case.
Additionally, you can ask for support from your neighbors who see the upside of installing solar panels. Provide data and be an advocate for how solar helps the environment and their pockets; in this way, you’re also helping neighbors who plan to go solar in the future with your actions.
4. Attend a board meeting and submit your findings
Once you have all the facts and information at hand, submit them to the board and persuade them of the positive impact that solar can be on the community.
Be ready for any questions that they will have and once the meeting’s adjourned, be sure to follow up.
Don’t give up.
In a very bold move for the environment, Virginia also signed the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA) which targets the 100% use of renewable sources for energy by 2050.
There are already numerous laws in place that encourage solar panels for residential, commercial, and industrial use.
It’s not an “if” question, not even a “when” because we’re all heading in that direction here in Virginia; it’s a question of why not and why not now, especially when electric bills are skyrocketing and there are a variety of government incentives that’ll support your switch.
If you would like a quote with the current Federal and Local incentives applied, reach out to our office at (804) 4527699 or send your power bill to Service@sunlightsolarvirginia.com.