In 2007, New Jersey enacted legislation preventing homeowners associations from prohibiting the installation of solar collectors on certain types of residential properties. The term "solar collector" is not defined, but would seem to include both solar photovoltaic and solar thermal technologies. This law covers only dwellings that are not deemed community property of the association, including townhouses which have at least two sides that are unattached to any other building and for which the owner, rather than the association, is responsible for roof maintenance.
In addition, the law applies specifically to systems installed on the roofs of qualifying dwellings. Presumably this means that it does not extend the same protections to ground-mounted systems. A homeowners association is permitted to regulate certain aspects of solar collectors, including the qualifications of installation personnel, collector location, concealment and size. However, any regulation that would increase the collectors' installation and maintenance cost by more than 10%, or would prevent the system from operating at maximum efficiency, may not be enforced.
New Jersey law provides for the creation of solar easements to ensure that proper sunlight is available to those who operate solar-energy systems. The term "solar energy device" is not defined by the law, and thus could conceivably include all manner of systems or equipment that utilize solar energy.
The law stipulates that Solar Easements must be created in writing and shall be subject to the same conveyancing and instrument recording requirements as other easements. This must include:
The vertical and horizontal angles, expressed in degrees, at which the solar easement extends over the real property subject to the solar easement.
Any terms or conditions or both under which the solar easement is granted or will be terminated.
Any provisions for compensation of the owner of the property benefiting from the solar easement in the event of interference with the enjoyment of the solar easement or compensation of the owner of the property subject to the solar easement for maintaining the solar easement.
These are minimum requirements. Additional points of agreement may be added at the discretion of those involved.