For years North Carolina has followed the national trend of promoting and encouraging green technology and cleaner and more efficient ways of producing energy.
For homeowners associations, the trend has been for state legislatures to create laws allowing installation of solar collectors, regardless of what the HOA may say. Some states have required HOAs to allow installation under all circumstances, while other states have limited an HOA’s ability to deny an application to install a solar collector to certain specific instances.
For an overview of the current solar laws in North Carolina and how they impact your homeowners association, take a look at my earlier post on North Carolina solar laws. Basically, most HOAs in North Carolina have the ability to deny solar collectors in many cases and can regulate location of the solar collector and even require that they be screened. Several factors impact the determination and we advise every homeowners association board or architectural committee to consult an experienced HOA attorney if they have any questions.
In North Carolina, several proposals have been submitted to modify or adjust the current solar laws for homeowners associations in this state. For example, House Bill 750 was introduced in 2019 and would seek to eliminate some of an HOA’s ability to deny installation of solar collectors. It proposes to delete the current statutory language allowing an HOA to deny placement of solar collectors in certain areas (like the front yard or the front roof). At the same time the proposed bill would require any HOA to allow installation of a solar collector if an HOA’s regulation “reduced the operating efficiency” of a proposed solar collector. It defines “reducing the operating efficiency” of a solar collector as any reduction of more than 10% in efficiency. In other words, if an HOA’s rule or regulation requires placement in a particular place (such as the rear roof) and placing it there reduced the system’s efficiency by more than 10% then the HOA would not be permitted to require placement there.
At the current time this bill does not appear to have support, but it is an example of the types of proposals we have seen.
Because there is a clear push to eliminate barriers to installing solar technologies it may only be a matter of time before North Carolina does pass a revision to the current HOA solar laws. Because of that trend, we usually advise our community association clients to look at adopting a solar policy for their community. It allows them to proactively address this growing area of greener energy production and to be prepared when homeowners do submit an application to install something. I’ve worked with a number of communities with questions and have assisted many others to draft solar policies. Reach out to a community association attorney in one of our Charlotte, Greensboro, Triangle, or Coastal offices today to find out how we can help you.