Homeowner’s Do Have Rights
As far back as 1978, California passed CA Civil Code 714 which bars restrictions by homeowners associations (HOA’s) on the installation of solar-energy systems. The original legislation did not specifically apply to cities, counties, municipalities or other public entities.
Fast-forwarding, legislation was amended to extend restrictions to all public entities and common interest developments, meaning entities could impose ‘reasonable restrictions’ on solar energy systems that do not significantly increase the cost of the system or specified performance.
The next major legislative jump was in 2014 where AB 2188 adopted legislation that specified a dollar amount and system efficiency impact that restrictions on a solar system could create. Today ‘reasonable restrictions’ on solar energy mean systems do not cost more than $1000 to the cost of the original system or limit the efficiency of the system by 10%.
What does this mean to consumers?
What this means is that there is no entity, such as that of an HOA, that can restrict a homeowner from installing accessing their solar right, or better said, from installing a residential solar system on their home. It also means that local government, agencies or organizations cannot unreasonably restrict the use of solar energy systems and gives people the right to a solar easement on their property.
Not Without Limitations
Does this mean a homeowner can do whatever they want, whenever they want? Of course not. It means that homeowners that live within solar regulated communities, such as an HOA, must follow through with their HOA’s procedure for solar installation compliance. It also means that the project needs to be completed with a licensed and insured contractor that applies for appropriate home improvement and construction permits to complete the job. The Solar Rights Act allows someone to not be restricted from garnering energy from the sun but does not give someone the freedom to install it haphazardly.
Consequences of an HOA or other entity not following through?
Legislation AB 2180 of 2008 provides additional consumer protections. The Civil code provides that an HOA who willfully violates the Solar Rights Act must pay the solar system owner a civil penalty of up to $1000.00. Additionally, the Act provides that the approval or denial of an application for solar installation must be made within 60 days of submission, or it will be deemed as approved.
Questions About Your Solar Rights?
If you have lingering questions about the practicality, or the legality, of installing a solar system on your home or business, take a minute and reach out. Our Energy Advisers are available to help.
Here is an excellent article on the Top Questions You Should Ask Any Solar Company