There is often significant confusion for both cities and potential solar customers regarding the role Homeowners Associations (HOAs) may and may not have when it comes to regulating solar panel installations in their neighborhoods. Here are the facts:
Texas HB-362, passed in the 82nd Legislative session (2011), limits HOAs and POAs from restricting solar devices outright. To comply with this law, homeowners that live in neighborhoods with HOAs must still follow the normal procedures for seeking improvements, including a written request or application to an appointed Architecture Review Committee or similar council.
Due to 2015 state legislation SB-1626, a loophole that allowed a developer to prohibit or restrict a property owner from installing a solar energy device during the development period – a period that is poorly defined and could last many years – has been reduced to apply only for developments with fewer than 51 planned residential units (effective 9/1/2015).
Nevertheless, HOAs may still restrict solar installations. Therefore, the City can play an important role in engaging and educating HOAs about solar panel installations and, thereby, working toward consistent and equitable policy city-wide.
- Plano Solar Advocates
- Overview of Texas Solar Rights Provision
- Engage Homeowners' Associations
Plano Solar Advocates provides a succinct summary of the Texas laws pertaining to the ways HOAs can and cannot restrict solar panel installations. The webpage also includes details on potential regulatory barriers for residential solar installations and what can be done to address them.
The DSIRE Texas Solra Rights webpage provides a summary of the conditions under which POAs, HOAs, and builders may and may not restrict the installation of solar panels.
This document is a white paper created by Solar Ready II to provide best management practices for engaging homeowners associations and encouraging modification of HOA policies to be more solar-friendly; it includes relevant examples.
Best Management Practices for Local Governments
- Address Solar in the Zoning Code or Adopt a Solar Ordinance
- Create a Central Information Source
- Create a Permitting Checklist
- Develop Criteria for Expedited Processes
- Develop Solar-Ready Guidelines or Adopt a Solar-Ready Ordinance
- Engage Homeowners Associations
- Pre-Qualify Electrical Plans and Installers
- Standardize Permit Fees