Property Owners' Associations (also known as Homeowners' Associations or HOAs) may not prohibit or restrict property owners from installing a solar energy device. There are, however, several exceptions that allow HOAs to enforce provisions that could prohibit the solar energy devices in certain situations.
Associations may prohibit solar energy devices if they are found to be illegal or violate public health and safety, as decided by a court. HOAs may prohibit or regulate solar on common property within the subdivision or property that is owned or maintained by the association. HOAs may also regulate (or prohibit) solar devices that are on the roof if they extend above the roofline, are not parallel to the roofline, or do not conform to the slope of the roof. The HOAs may also regulate (or prohibit) solar energy devices installed on the ground in a fenced yard if they are taller than the fence. There are a few additional caveats that would allow HOAs to prohibit or restrict the installation of a solar energy device: if the solar energy device is installed in a way that voids its warranties or if any frames or wiring/piping are not silver, bronze, or black.
The law also stipulates that the HOA may designate where the solar device should be located on a roof, unless a homeowner can show that the designation negatively impacts the performance of the solar energy device and an alternative location would increase production by more than 10%.
The HOA may be allowed to prohibit the installation of a solar energy device if the homeowner does not receive prior approval from the association. If, in seeking the approval, the HOA finds that the proposed solar energy device will create a condition that harms or interferes with other people's "use and enjoyment of the land," the HOA may prohibit the installation as well. Homeowners should seek written support from neighboring properties in order to prove that this condition does not exist.
In the case of developments or subdivisions that are still under the developers control and the HOA has not yet transferred to the property owners, the builder can prohibit or restrict a homeowner for installing a solar energy device only in developments with 50 units or fewer.