One Redditor planning to install solar panels claims to have encountered an annoying roadblock: a misinformed neighbor who thinks the installation would pose a health risk.
The user posted in r/Solar, which has seen a flurry of activity recently thanks to a change in the California Public Utilities Commission’s solar energy billing plan. Under the old system, NEM 2.0, residents with solar panels would receive around 30 cents per watt for any energy they contribute to the system, according to Solar.com. Under the updated NEM 3.0, the rate will be closer to 8 cents.
However, residents who already have solar panels when the change takes effect will be grandfathered into the old system and maintain the higher rate, which is what this Redditor is trying to achieve.
“I will be livid if I miss out because of her,” they say.
According to the original poster, their HOA requires that before residents install solar panels, they notify neighbors in writing and receive their signatures. However, one neighbor, who the original poster refers to as Karen, refuses to sign.
“She thinks the panels will rain radiation down on her and give her cancer,” says the frustrated Redditor. There is no evidence of any such health risk.
Other users are quick to reassure the original poster. “Actually, you have until April 14, 2023, to submit interconnection paperwork and be grandfathered into the existing NEM 2.0 rates,” one poster says. “After that, your installer has up to three years to finalize the installation.”
Another commenter points out that the original poster may not even need to wait out the HOA’s approval process at all. “In California, it’s illegal for an HOA to say no to you for solar panels,” they say.
They also share a link to a New Day Solar webpage that explains homeowners’ rights under the Solar Rights Act, which are clear: Any rule that “prohibits or restricts the installation or use of a solar energy system is void and unenforceable.”
“You notified her, she refused to acknowledge, they know she’s been informed … ” says a third commenter. “That should be the end of the matter.”
Other homeowners have met resistance from HOAs when installing solar panels in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Illinois. Thankfully, many states have laws protecting solar panel installation.
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