Green Tech Chatter: A Solar, Wind HOA Debate

In an era where more and more people are interested in installing solar panels or small wind turbines on their properties, many people are running into a problem–that problem is the homeowners’ association. Homeowner associations (HOAs) are found in residential subdivisions like condos and gated communities, and are set up by real estate developers to market, manage, sell and maintain housing units. They also set rules about changes made to the units, exterior decor and the like. While some are fair and reasonable, horror stories about HOAs have come to the fore, and recently, they have been a traditional opposition to the installment of solar and wind power devices on individual units.

This is not to say that all HOAs are against renewable energy. In addition, state and federal laws are changing to allow for residents to install renewable energy devices without the approval of HOAs. For example, in Colorado, law protects the installation of solar and wind devices as long as they comply with the state’s interconnection and safety standards. Sometimes, as is the case in Florida, an HOA may dictate the placement of the device.

Rooftop Wind Turbine

image via Shutterstock

In places where there are no HOAs, homeowners and larger facilities alike must sometimes contend with zoning laws as well as public opposition to the installment or construction of solar and wind devices. Opponents site the noise from wind turbines as well as the “ugliness” of turbines and solar panels. To learn more about all of this, check out some of the chosen links below.

Colorado’s Grand Junction Free Press debunks myths about solar power, including its prohibition by HOAs.

Ohio’s Twinsburg Bulletin tells of an HOA’s approval of solar panel installation.

The Palm Beach Post answers a reader question about solar panel installation in Florida.

MySanAntonio.com discusses legislation reducing the power of HOAs.

USA Today looks at how green practices conflict with HOAs.

How to Install Solar Panels in a Homeowners Association tells a lawyer’s perspective on this subject.

This PDF takes a look at one HOA’s approach to the renewable energy topic.

Getting Around Your HOA to Install Solar Panels offers tips on this topic.

Laura Caseley is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz and a resident of New York State’s Hudson Valley. She writes for several publications and when she’s not writing, she can usually be found painting in her makeshift studio or enjoying the scenery of her hometown.