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How can a homeowners association control your solar equipment?

On Behalf of | Oct 3, 2020 | Condo / HOA |

In Florida, you have the right to use energy devices that rely on renewable resources, such as solar collectors and clotheslines. 

The FSEC Energy Research Center explains that Florida law prohibits HOAs from denying homeowners the right to install solar equipment. 

What an HOA can do

While the HOA cannot outright ban the use of a solar system, it has the right to require homeowners to ask for approval in advance. To request approval gives the association time to adopt restrictions, if necessary. 

An association may dictate where you can install your solar collector on your roof. In some instances, the association may even require you to build a fence or plant trees so that cars and pedestrians cannot see your equipment. An association cannot discriminate against homeowners for any reason. All homeowners must face the same reasonable restrictions. 

What an HOA cannot do

An association cannot declare restrictions that interfere with a solar system’s efficiency. The screening measures above, such as building fences and planting trees cannot impair the system. For instance, an association cannot ask you to change the color of your system to blend into the roof. Since collectors must be black to absorb heat, you can use black collectors. 

The association cannot dictate where you put the collector if it limits your rights to solar equipment. An example of this type of case involved a swimming pool heating system. The association tried to restrict the system to the ground. The system could not function, not to mention there was not enough yard space to have a ground-mounted system.