Solar panels reduce your electric bill, generate pollution-free energy, and increase property value — so it’s no surprise that one Reddit user took to the forum for advice after being told they couldn’t explore these benefits by their homeowners’ association.
In a recent post, the Redditor explained that a new HOA rule in their Pennsylvania community is prohibiting them from installing solar panels on their home.
“So my HOA has decided that anyone with a south-facing home can’t have solar panels,” the original poster wrote. “The new rule is discriminatory against those who have a south-facing home … This was right after I put in an arch request for solar, on my south-facing home. How can I get them to overturn their discriminatory new rule?”
According to the Redditor, the HOA rule prohibiting them and their neighbors from reaping the benefits of solar panels is especially egregious because the community was intended to be “a new, modern, and efficient neighborhood.”
“All the homes are hyper-efficient and even incorporate passive solar designs,” the user wrote. “So for the board to decide [that] half of the homes can’t have solar kind of rubs people the wrong way.”
The poster also clarified that the members of HOA board that implemented the new policy all live in north-facing homes, which means they’re exempt from the solar ban.
Commenters expressed their sympathy and their hopes for a solution.
“SB 826 is the current bill to provide solar protection in PA, it was introduced in the state senate,” one user wrote. “You can contact your local reps to ask them to support it if you want. Not a short term solution, but it may help long term.”
People facing similar problems should check to see if their states have solar access laws. Arizona, California, Florida, Massachusetts, and New York have protections in place that prohibit condominiums and HOAs from explicitly banning solar installations on their rooftops or properties.
Unfortunately, Pennsylvania is not one of those states just yet.
Some users suggested clever ways to get around the restrictive policy.
“I would guess their objection is aesthetics,” said another. “Look into solar shingles and see if that would be acceptable on the front of the home, since they look more like a normal roof.”
“Time to engage your local lawmaker. What an accomplishment and ultimate [f*** HOA] to get a state law passed…..” wrote another.
Recently, a Maryland couple was able to fight off a similarly restrictive HOA policy to protect their rewilded lawn — and, with the help of environmental organizations and politicians, created a new state law in the process.
There is certainly precedent for individuals to overturn unusual HOA mandates, so with luck, this Redditor may be able to enjoy similar success and make their community more solar-friendly.
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