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Residents kept from installing money-saving home addition because of HOA rules: 'Clearly illegal and unenforceable'

A battle is afoot in one suburb.

A battle is afoot in one suburb.

Photo Credit: iStock

A battle is afoot in one Denver suburb, with a homeowners association (HOA) refusing to allow its residents to install solar panels despite state laws that protect people's right to do so.

Aurora residents Dick Cunningham and Walter Rozycki said their HOA rejected their plans to install rooftop solar panels on their homes in the Villas at Cherry Creek community.

The two told The Denver Post that the HOA's policies on solar, which prohibit leasing panels and mandate that residents use the most recent technology available, are "over the top."

Their lawyer, Roger Freeman, helped write a state law called the "Solar Bill of Rights" in 2021, which makes it illegal, with narrow exceptions, for HOAs to interfere with the installation of solar energy systems. 

According to him, the HOA's rules are "so outside the bounds of the HOA Solar Law that they are clearly illegal and unenforceable under the law."

While there are initial costs to install solar panels, implementing this energy source can save people money over time via lower power bills. According to Forbes, solar users could conserve $25,500-$33,000 over the life of their system. Plus, solar panels are viewed as upgrades and generally increase a home's value

In addition, solar is a clean and renewable energy source that can replace the use of dirty fuels like natural gas. As such, it plays an important role in mitigating planet-warming pollution.

Rozycki told The Denver Post, "I want to do this for the good of the environment, not so much to save money. The saving of the money is down the road."

Meanwhile, Washington is doubling down on its commitment to solar. In June 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched a $7 billion grant competition to bring this energy source to low-income and disadvantaged communities.

"Thanks to President Biden's Investing in America agenda, this historic boost in solar investments will advance millions of residential solar projects nationwide, protect people and the planet, deliver environmental justice, save families money, and create good-paying jobs," EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said in a statement.

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