By: Cody Cooper, Certified Senior Solar Consultant, YellowLite, Inc.
So you have decided to pursue the dream of producing clean solar energy for your home and distancing yourself from your electric utility company, but you are unsure on what restrictions the local Home Owner Association (HOA) may have. With regard to working with HOAs, I was once given the advice, “It is always easier to ask for forgiveness than permission”, but depending on the involvement you have in the community this may not be the wisest option. This article will explain the process of getting your solar system installed while keeping the neighbors and HOA happy as well.
When you first start working with your YellowLite consultant to determine which roof spaces will produce the highest energy production, mention to them that you belong to an HOA. Once the potential locations for installation have been decided upon, our team will then contact the governing HOA to see what, if any, regulations they have for solar installations. Best case scenario, there are no regulations restricting your project and you can proceed with the installation as planned. If that is not the case, there are a few ways to get the installation approved by your HOA.
The restriction most commonly enforced by HOAs is they will not permit the solar power system to be installed on a roof surface that can be seen from the street. At YellowLite, we offer two solutions for this objection. One way to resolve the issue is to simply install on a roof space that is less visible. Often times there is more than one roof space available for solar where the difference in potential electricity production is negligible. If this is the case, we will simply propose a revision to the design that is within the HOA regulations.
Another potential remedy to gain approval from your HOA is to use alternate materials. The solar manufacturers that we recommend provide “all black” module options, and low profile roof mounts. Although the substituted materials may have a small increase in overall cost, the added aesthetic appeal to the installation is often enough to please the HOA.
Solar installations are exponentially increasing in number across the country. As a result, restrictions to solar installations by HOAs will soon be an afterthought. In the meantime, although an HOA hindering the installation process is uncommon, it does happen, and we here at YellowLite are experienced and prepared to deal with your unique scenario.