As more residential solar systems go online in Idaho and other intermountain states, homeowners association approval is easier to obtain than ever before. Nevertheless, some HOAs still will not approve solar panel installations, or at least not without a fight. If you are worried about whether your HOA will let you install solar panels, read on to find out how to navigate the potentially arduous approval process.
Begin by checking the rules, or covenants, conditions and restrictions, for your neighborhood. Many HOAs restrict solar panels in several ways, usually by making rules regarding their placement, color and how far they can extend above the roof. Once you know the rules for your subdivision, look into the solar access laws. In Idaho, these are called solar easement provisions, which provide property owners and their solar panels the right to access sunlight. If the homeowners association in your neighborhood gives you a hard time, pointing out this law may help your case. Plus, knowing that you are within your rights as a homeowner can give you the confidence you will need to push back against a difficult HOA.
If your HOA seems wary about approving PV solar panels, you can improve your chances by helping the board members learn more about this subject. You will need to convince them that using solar energy will not reflect poorly on the neighborhood. In fact, it can do just the opposite, since it can improve the value of any home. Make sure the association is aware of this, and then show them pictures of the solar panels that have been installed by your contractor. This will make it obvious that today’s systems do not detract from a home’s appearance. You can also explain the amount of money you expect to save after installation. Since this is a detail that home buyers will be interested in if your home is ever on the market, it might also be of interest to the HOA.
In some cases, having your solar panel installer talk to the HOA can help, since solar power experts know how to explain solar’s many benefits. Another option is to have your neighbors sign a petition indicating that they are in favor of solar power for all local residents. If the homeowners association board still won’t listen, they might need to hear from a lawyer instead. Sometimes just having a lawyer send a letter to the HOA can help. Ideally, you won’t have to bring a lawsuit against the association to obtain permission to make this necessary modification to your own property.
Fortunately, most HOAs are reasonable enough today to recognize the many benefits of alternative energy systems. If you suspect yours may balk when you try to go solar, HOA approval may be easier to obtain when you come to Intermountain Wind and Solar for help first. They have experience with homeowners associations throughout Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Nevada and Idaho. Contact them today for all the help you need to make residential solar power a reality.
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