Get 1 year of free community web site hosting from Community123.com!
Wednesday, October 27, 2021











HOATalk is a free service of Community123.com:

Easy to use website tools to help your board
Only members have access to all features.
Click here to join HOATalk for Free! Members click here to login and access all features.
Subject: Solar Panel Layout/Design
Prev Next
Please login to post a reply (click Member Login on the menu).
Author Messages
JoeO4
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:4


10/05/2021 10:23 AM  
Hello, This is my first post! We just transitioned from developer to homeowners and we are working on the neighborhoods first solar panel request. We have kept the project "pending" until we could meet with our members and get opinions. In general, most opinions were favorable as long as it is the back roof and tasteful. Now, we are trying to define tasteful. The layout we were presented for the pending house has 31 panels, using every square foot of usable space. The perimeter of the layout has 20 total sides. One of our Board members is fine with the layout. Two of us are in favor of only having a rectangular layout, and one is in the middle. What sort of language or restrictions do you have in terms of solar panel layout?
JoeO4
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:4


10/05/2021 11:54 AM  
This is not about home values. It is about residents not wanting to look at an eyesore. In Central PA, very few homes have solar panels and everyone in our neighborhood was either in favor of it but with some type of restrictions, or against it. Not one person said to just let anything happen. It is up to us to define the restrictions. And as for home values, that is everywhere. Homes are selling for 40% more than they did 3 years ago. We're a new community and houses that were built for $350,000 just a few years ago are going on the market and selling for $500,000.
JoeO4
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:4


10/05/2021 12:24 PM  
Ok then... Looking for answers from Board members or people that enjoying living in an HOA community.
MaxB4


Posts:1395


10/05/2021 12:38 PM  
Posted By JoeO4 on 10/05/2021 12:24 PM
Ok then... Looking for answers from Board members or people that enjoying living in an HOA community.



Count me out.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:4239


10/05/2021 12:47 PM  
There are a lot of communities whose documents haven't caught up with solar panels because it seems they've only been getting more attention in the last 30 years or so, so it's probably best that you focus on what's best for your community.

I know one of the counties north of mine have had a tussle with solar panels because some people object to their appearance. I find "tasteful" is subjective anyway, and it's not always a good idea to base CCRs or design standards for any exterior change on that because tastes do change. In your case, I suspect the appearance of the current roof explains why you and one colleague prefer a rectangle layout, another is ok with the panels covering the entire roof and one person being unsure (not sure what "in the middle" means). If you have several designs of the homes in your community, the "tasteful" opinion will change because the roof looks different.

Maybe it would be best to have the homeowner explain why he/she needs X number of panels on the roof or why they need to cover the entire roof as opposed to one side (the direction of the sun likely has something to do with that ). Also, require that the exterior change request include a diagram of what the proposed roof would look like.

This is one time where the decision would have to be based on a case-by-case basis and you need to have a more objective reason why the panels fly or not. It's probably easier to say something like "the solar panel company indicated the homeowner only needs X number of panels on the south side of the roof, but this request wants the entire roof covered - that's not necessary).
BobS38
(Oregon)

Posts:15


10/05/2021 12:51 PM  
google SB1039. Whatever HOA busy body work you start creating may soon become invalid.

Really, take a gut check and think about it. Is this really something you want to turn into a fight within your HOA community? You're on the wrong side of the fight on this issue...

Yes, just make some standard ACC guidelines like having panels parallel to roof, not sticking up into the air and to try to keep panels clustered as close together as possible.

JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11539


10/05/2021 1:34 PM  
Roland

For your own piece of mind, I suggest you sell and never buy again in an association. You are not cut out for this communal, give up some of your rights type of living.
MaxB4


Posts:1395


10/05/2021 1:35 PM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 10/05/2021 1:34 PM
Roland

For your own piece of mind, I suggest you sell and never buy again in an association. You are not cut out for this communal, give up some of your rights type of living.



I did it and wife and I couldn't be happier.
MichaelH34
(North Carolina)

Posts:43


10/05/2021 1:40 PM  
John, have you checked your city/county/state regs on the matter to find out if you have any ability at the HOA level to regulate solar panel installation?

If not, you should. You may find that you're SOL as far as being able to control what the homeowner can and can't do with regard to solar.

JoeO4
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:4


10/05/2021 1:50 PM  
We asked for everyone's opinion. Everyone that had an opinion gave it. It was very civil. Everyone pretty much said something similar. If we do allow it, it should be tasteful. It is now up to us to have some sort of standard because "tasteful" is not a standard. That is what I'm looking for guidance on. Isn't this page supposed to be HOA leaders helping other HOA leaders? I'm looking for language to adopt to our Covenants and Restrictions. I'm looking for people who have this language to help guide me.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8620


10/05/2021 3:53 PM  
Good questions, Joe. nd I do know we're supposed to help HOA leaders as you point out. So the anti- HOA folks should keep their mouths shut.

The other thing is I haven't noticed many on this forum who've dealt with your topic. Our high rise, for instance has about 15 street side townhomes & CA does permit them to install solar if they want. But no one has wanted to yet, so, though a board member, I have no experience with the topic. I have a feeling there might a better source for you than this forum.

Good luck!
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8620


10/05/2021 3:54 PM  
Good questions, Joe. nd I do know we're supposed to help HOA leaders as you point out. So the anti- HOA folks should keep their mouths shut.

The other thing is I haven't noticed many on this forum who've dealt with your topic. Our high rise, for instance has about 15 street side townhomes & CA does permit them to install solar if they want. But no one has wanted to yet, so, though a board member, I have no experience with the topic. I have a feeling there might a better source for you than this forum.

Good luck!
MaxB4


Posts:1395


10/05/2021 4:25 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 10/05/2021 3:54 PM
Good questions, Joe. nd I do know we're supposed to help HOA leaders as you point out. So the anti- HOA folks should keep their mouths shut.

The other thing is I haven't noticed many on this forum who've dealt with your topic. Our high rise, for instance has about 15 street side townhomes & CA does permit them to install solar if they want. But no one has wanted to yet, so, though a board member, I have no experience with the topic. I have a feeling there might a better source for you than this forum.

Good luck!



I responded to a statement JohnC46 made, so never tell me or anyone else to keep their mouths shut!
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:1429


10/05/2021 5:12 PM  
Posted By JoeO4 on 10/05/2021 10:23 AM
Hello, This is my first post! We just transitioned from developer to homeowners and we are working on the neighborhoods first solar panel request. We have kept the project "pending" until we could meet with our members and get opinions. In general, most opinions were favorable as long as it is the back roof and tasteful. Now, we are trying to define tasteful. The layout we were presented for the pending house has 31 panels, using every square foot of usable space. The perimeter of the layout has 20 total sides. One of our Board members is fine with the layout. Two of us are in favor of only having a rectangular layout, and one is in the middle. What sort of language or restrictions do you have in terms of solar panel layout?




HOA's cannot interfere with the layout and design of rooftop PV, at least here in Nevada we can't. Some instance PV installation cannot escape installing PV panels on the front facing portion of the roof. PV seems to be the wave of the future, can't really stand in the way of progress.
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:1429


10/05/2021 5:15 PM  
Posted By SheliaH on 10/05/2021 12:47 PM
There are a lot of communities whose documents haven't caught up with solar panels because it seems they've only been getting more attention in the last 30 years or so, so it's probably best that you focus on what's best for your community.

I know one of the counties north of mine have had a tussle with solar panels because some people object to their appearance. I find "tasteful" is subjective anyway, and it's not always a good idea to base CCRs or design standards for any exterior change on that because tastes do change. In your case, I suspect the appearance of the current roof explains why you and one colleague prefer a rectangle layout, another is ok with the panels covering the entire roof and one person being unsure (not sure what "in the middle" means). If you have several designs of the homes in your community, the "tasteful" opinion will change because the roof looks different.

Maybe it would be best to have the homeowner explain why he/she needs X number of panels on the roof or why they need to cover the entire roof as opposed to one side (the direction of the sun likely has something to do with that ). Also, require that the exterior change request include a diagram of what the proposed roof would look like.

This is one time where the decision would have to be based on a case-by-case basis and you need to have a more objective reason why the panels fly or not. It's probably easier to say something like "the solar panel company indicated the homeowner only needs X number of panels on the south side of the roof, but this request wants the entire roof covered - that's not necessary).




Most of those covenants you mention are voided when new legislation is passed that support items like solar panels, even saw an local ordnance passed that allows for backyard coltishness where the HOA covenant banned them.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8620


10/06/2021 9:48 AM  
Having installed solar on my Santa Cruz CA home in the 1970s, I'm very pro clean energy. It's when posters say they hate HOAs or similar that they are not keeping with the spirit of this board. Criticising board decisions, conduct, however, is not anti-HOA.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11539


10/06/2021 10:10 AM  
Joe

You said the panels will be on the back of the house so not really visible. I say let them have as many panels as they can. I do not see the layout as an issue.
LoriM15
(Florida)

Posts:36


10/06/2021 11:51 AM  
As I have posted before, we just settled a potential lawsuit between our HOA and a homeowner who asked for permission to put solar panels on his roof. The HOA gave him permission with very specific restrictions (back and one side only) and he and the solar panel company violated that when they did the installation. Long story short - no case law in Florida but our attorney told us we had a good case, apparently the homeowner's lawyer agreed, and they settled with the solar panel company to restore their roof. I'm only telling this part of it because Florida does have a very specific solar energy statute that says HOA cannot say no to solar, but can restrict placement of panels. So don't let anyone tell you that HOAs don't have the right to deny panels on some parts of roofs.

Anyway, this particular company was using small modular rectangles. Because it was a four-sided hipped roof, the panels were placed in a pyramid shape and filled up most of the available roof space. It wasn't pretty, but it wasn't bad. "Tastelful" is so subjective. If it's on the back of the house I would think it shouldn't matter what it looks like.

I would tread carefully when trying to restrict the shape of the layout. More panels = more energy produced and the homeowner may get upset and push back if you tell them that the more attractive layout is going to produce less energy. If the homeowner is letting you restrict the panels to the back with no protest, count yourself lucky and let them have any layout they want.




MichaelH34
(North Carolina)

Posts:43


10/06/2021 12:39 PM  
I'm wondering about the efficacy of the "back" language. Unless all the houses face the same way, that's likely to put some pretty severe restrictions on power generation for some homes relative to others. Seems like exactly the sort of thing that makes people hate HOAs.
BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:1040


10/06/2021 3:45 PM  
I would recommend against getting members' opinions. You will get many who do not want them for the wrong reasons and have a lot of hurt feelings when you have to ignore them.

It is fairly simple, follow your CC&Rs. If they fall within the CC&Rs and local and state laws, approve them. If not, advise the applicant of what changes need to be made.
BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:1040


10/06/2021 3:53 PM  
Posted By RollandE1 on 10/05/2021 10:32 AM
Just let them have as many solar panels as they want, it's their home and it's not going to affect your homes value at all. If anything it will increase the average value of a home. Just look at what Covid 19 did to home values. In my hoa homes are going for 10 to 15% above asking price within a week.

have pissed off Home owners due to restriction on their property will decrase home values more.

I actually have about 30 solar panels on my property. My HOA wouldnt' let me put them on the front of my house so I spent an extra $10K to build a backyard pergola.

but to answer your question. Most ugly solar panels designs are because the panels are scattered everywhere. Just make it a policy that all solar panels have to have a minimum grouping of 4 panels or maybe 5.



Are you advocating violating the contract someone has with their neighbors? That is what your CC&Rs are. I would never buy a home where subjective "eyesores" are prohibited but I do follow the rules that I agreed to when buying my property.
MichaelS56
(Minnesota)

Posts:279


10/06/2021 4:24 PM  
This thread has evolved into a typical Association dialogue that is found frequently amongst a"community".
LoriM15
(Florida)

Posts:36


10/07/2021 1:53 PM  
Obviously you didn't bother to read the Florida statute. It says nothing about increasing the cost. There are restrictions on the degrees away from south and the AMOUNT of production, but not the cost.

And I recently spoke with one of the leading experts on home solar energy panels. He says that many states are getting away from the direction the panels face because the differences in the amount of electricity produced depending on the direction they are facing is minimal. Not used by the much of the industry any more.
Please login to post a reply (click Member Login on the menu).
Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > Solar Panel Layout/Design



Only members have access to all features.
Click here to join HOATalk for Free! Members click here to login and access all features.







General Legal Notice:  The content of forum messages are from the posting member and have not been reviewed nor endorsed by HOATalk.com.  Messages posted by HOATalk or other members are for informational purposes only, are not legal or professional advice and do not constitute an attorney-client relationship.  Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.  HOATalk is not a licensed attorney, CPA, tax advisor, financial advisor or any other licensed professional.  HOATalk accepts ads from sponsors but does not verify sponsor qualifications nor endorse/guarantee any sponsor's product or service.
Legal Notice For Messages Posted by Sponsoring Attorneys: This message has been prepared by the sponsoring attorney for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Readers of HOATalk.com should not act on this information without seeking professional counsel. Please do not send any sponsoring attorney confidential information unless you speak with the sponsoring attorney or an attorney from the sponsoring attorney’s firm and get authorization to send that information to them. If you wish to initiate possible representation, please contact an attorney in the firm of the sponsoring attorney. Sponsoring attorneys that post messages here are licensed to practice law in a specific state or states as indicated in their message signature or sponsor’s profile page. (NOTE: A ‘sponsoring attorney’ is an attorney that is a HOATalk.com official sponsor and is identified as such in the posted message or on our sponsor page.)

Copyright HOA Talk.com, A Service of Community123 LLC ( Homeowners Association Discussions )   Terms Of Use  Privacy Statement