Keep reading to learn more about HOA solar panel restriction, including a list of laws and protections by state.
Homeowners Associations can impose rules and regulations on the appearance of properties within their jurisdiction, and this may include restrictions on the installation of solar panels or other renewable energy systems.
The extent to which an HOA can prevent the installation of a solar system depends on several factors–some areas have laws that restrict HOA intervention, and some HOAs do not have solar guidelines in their covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs).
Laws that protect a homeowner’s right to install solar have been passed in most states, and these sometimes include stipulations that prevent HOA intervention. These are called "solar access laws".
States without solar access laws may still have "solar easement policies", which may offer some protection against HOA intervention. However, solar easements are typically a voluntary agreement involving the neighboring property owners.
Even in states with solar access laws, the HOA may have discretion in regulating the appearance of properties and may be able to impose panel placement or other requirements. However, these restrictions are usually kept in check by specific legal provisions.
General list of state restrictions
This list will show the status of legal protection against HOA solar intervention by state, as well as whether the state has solar easement policies or not. It will also include some further information about the extent to which HOAs can govern panel placement in protected states.
It's always best to contact your state or local jurisdiction for full information on your area's policies--this guide should not be used as explicit legal advice.
|State||Legal protection for the right to install solar||Protection against HOA Panel Placement Rules||Solar Easement Policy in place (from EnergySage)|
|Alabama||No Protection||No Protection||N/A|
|Alaska||No Protection||No Protection||N/A|
|Arizona||Protected||HOA can instate “reasonable rules” governing panel placement||N/A|
|Arkansas||No Protection||No Protection||Solar Easement Policy|
|California||Protected||“Reasonable restrictions” are allowed for panel placement, but nothing that can affect the system’s efficiency or cost.||Solar Easement Policy|
|Colorado||Protected||Allows provisions for aesthetic regulations (which do not significantly increase cost or affect efficiency) or safety requirements||Solar Easement Policy|
|Connecticut||No Protection||No Protection||N/A|
|Delaware||Protected||“Reasonable restrictions” are allowed for panel placement, but nothing that can affect the system’s efficiency or cost.||N/A|
|Florida||Protected||HOA can govern panel placement, but only if the system’s performance and cost are not significantly affected.||Solar Easement Policy|
|Georgia||No Protection||No Protection||Solar Easement Policy|
|Hawaii||Protected||Restrictions cannot reduce efficiency by more than 25% and cannot increase cost by more than 15%.||N/A|
|Idaho||Protected||Restrictions are allowed, but cannot prevent panels from being installed on south-facing roofs, or within 45 degrees east or west of due south.||Solar Easement Policy|
|Illinois||Protected||Restrictions are allowed, but cannot impair the effective operation of the system or prevent panels from being installed on south-facing roofs, or within 45 degrees east or west of due south.||N/A|
|Indiana||Protected||Restrictions are not allowed, unless they preserve public health & safety, do not significantly increase system cost/decrease system efficiency, or allow for a system of comparable cost/efficiency.
If an HOA prevents a solar installation, a homeowner has the right to petition the other HOA members for approval to install the system. They must obtain either enough signatures required to amend the HOA's covenants, conditions, and restrictions, or 65% of the members of the association (whichever is less).
|Solar Easement Policy|
|Iowa||No Protection||No Protection||Solar Easement Policy|
|Kansas||No Protection||No Protection||Solar Easement Policy|
|No Protection||No Protection||Solar Easement Policy|
|Louisiana||Protected||"No person or entity shall unreasonably restrict the right of a property owner to install or use a solar collector". However, this does not apply to historic districts, historical preservations, or landmarks.||N/A|
|Maine||Protected||"Reasonable restrictions" are allowed in the case they protect public health and safety, buildings (from damage), historic or aesthetic values (when an alternative of reasonably comparable cost/convenience is available), or shorelands.||Solar Easement Policy|
|Maryland||Protected||Maryland state law prohibits HOAs from placing restrictions or conditions on solar panel installation that “(1) significantly increase the cost of a solar system, and/or (2) significantly decrease the system’s efficiency”||Solar Easement Policy|
|Massachusetts||Protected||HOAs cannot "unreasonably restrict".||Solar Easement Policy|
|Michigan||No Protection||No Protection||N/A|
|Minnesota||No Protection||No Protection||Solar Easement Policy|
|Mississippi||No Protection||No Protection||N/A|
|Missouri||Protected||"Reasonable restrictions" for panel placement are allowed, and homeowners are only protected in the case of "rooftops that are owned, controlled, and maintained" by the homeowner.||Solar Easement Policy|
|Montana||No Protection||No Protection||Solar Easement Policy|
|Nebraska||Some Protections||"When the application of any zoning or subdivision regulation or ordinance would prevent or unduly restrict the use of solar energy systems... the governing body of the county or municipality having zoning or subdivision jurisdiction is authorized to grant a variance or exception...so as to relieve such restriction and protect access to solar energy or wind energy if such relief may be granted without substantial detriment to the public good..."||Solar Easement Policy|
|Nevada||Protected||Limits that affect a solar system's efficiency by 10% or greater are "unreasonable restrictions", and not permitted.||Solar Easement Policy|
|New Hampshire||No Protection||No Protection||N/A|
|New Jersey||Protected||"reasonable restrictions" on panel placement are allowed, but cannot affect the cost of the system by more than 10%, and cannot significantly affect the system's performance.||Solar Easement Policy|
|New Mexico||Protected||Regulation is allowed, as long as it doesn't effectively prohibit solar or make such an installation unreasonably difficult or costly.||Solar Easement Policy|
|New York||Protected||An "unreasonable limitation" inhibits the system from functioning at its
intended maximum efficiency or increases the system's installation or
maintenance costs by more than 10% of the total cost of the initial
|Solar Easement Policy|
|North Carolina||Protected||A NC Supreme Court case ruled that HOAs can govern panel placement as long as it doesn't affect their reasonable use.||N/A|
|North Dakota||No Protection||No Protection||Solar Easement Policy|
|Ohio||Protected||"Reasonable restrictions" for panel placement are allowed, and homeowners are only protected in the case of rooftops that are the responsibility of the homeowner.||Solar Easement Policy|
|Oklahoma||No Protection||No Protection||N/A|
|Oregon||Protected||"Reasonable restrictions" are allowed.||Solar Easement Policy|
|Pennsylvania||No Protection||No Protection||N/A|
|Rhode Island||No Protection||No Protection||Solar Easement Policy|
|South Carolina||No Protection||No Protection||N/A|
|South Dakota||No Protection||No Protection||Solar Easement Policy|
|Tennessee||No Protection||No Protection||Solar Easement Policy|
|Texas||Protected||The HOA is allowed to govern panel placement if production is not affected by more than 10%.||N/A|
|Utah||Protected||Reasonable restrictions cannot increase the cost of the system by more than 5%, or decrease the production of the system by more than 5%.
HOAs can also restrict ground-mounted systems that are visible from the street at the front of the property lot.
|Solar Easement Policy|
|Vermont||Protected||HOAs can determine specific panel locations as long as the roof location is within 45 degrees of due south (and doesn't impair the effective operation of the system).||N/A|
|Virginia||Protected||"...a community association may establish reasonable restrictions concerning the size, place, and manner of placement of such solar energy collection devices..."||Solar Easement Policy|
|Washington||Protected||Reasonable restrictions are allowed and defined by the law.||Solar Easement Policy|
|West Virginia||Protected||"Reasonable restrictions" allowed are defined as:
"restrictions that do not effectually result in a prohibition of their use by eliminating the system's energy conservation benefits or economic practicality."
|Wisconsin||Protected||Restrictions are not allowed, unless they preserve public health & safety, do not significantly increase system cost/decrease system efficiency, or allow for a system of comparable cost/efficiency.||N/A|
|Wyoming||No Protection||No Protection||N/A|
In any case, if you are considering installing a solar system and are subject to the authority of an HOA, it's important to review the relevant state & local laws and regulations as well as the specific language of your Homeowners Association's CC&Rs to determine what restrictions or requirements may apply.
You may also want to consult with an attorney or other expert who is knowledgeable about solar energy and HOA regulations.
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