HOA Access Laws & Colorado Solar

Colorado Solar FAQs
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Solar-Powered Colorado Home in an HOA

Homeowners Associations (HOAs) are given quite a bit of leeway in determining their community rules. They can control the color and length of your lawn, the type of roof allowed, and where cars can be parked. However, with the passing of new laws in Colorado, HOAs may no longer dictate one of the most important things for environmentally conscious homeowners: solar panels.

How Do HOAs Affect Your Solar Installation?

While it may come as a shock to many HOA board members, HOAs aren’t allowed to stop the installation of solar panels except in some rare cases. Nevertheless, some still try.

Why HOAs Sometimes Block Solar Panel Installations

Homeowners Associations are notorious for being very strict when it comes to the aesthetics of their neighborhoods. Homeowners who let their lawn grow too much or paint their houses the wrong color will get a notice from the HOA board warning them to fix the issue or be fined. 

Some People Think Solar Panels Are Ugly

The main reason why some HOAs stop homeowners from installing solar panels is that they believe the panels are ugly. They see solar panels as an eyesore that tarnish the beauty of the neighborhood. As such, some HOAs in the past have banned homes from installing rooftop solar panels. While backyard, ground-mounted solar panels with battery backup were a way around it, the fact that they took up valuable yard space made many homeowners forgo solar altogether. Unfortunately, this means that many homeowners have missed out on the savings that come with going solar.

How Colorado Solar Laws Interact With HOAs

Colorado was one of the first states to push for widespread renewable energy research and implementation. It was also among the first states to implement a popular renewable energy portfolio. As such, the state has vested interest in promoting renewable energy. To help do this, new legislation was implemented to limit the power of HOAs when it comes to solar installations.

Revised Statute (CRS) 38-30-168

Recognizing the need to loosen restrictions on solar, the Colorado legislature took action. The revised statute modified existing solar rules to make solar more accessible for homes in an HOA. There are several key provisions that go into this.

Homeowner Associations Cannot Ban Solar Panels for Aesthetic Reasons

The first big point to know is that an HOA cannot ban solar panels outright. Even if they don’t like the position or style of the solar panels, they have to allow them. However, an HOA can put limits on excessively large solar panel installations or unsafe ones. Additionally, residents cannot install solar panels on common property without approval from the HOA board. While an HOA member can add solar to the building they live in if they own it, they cannot do so in a park area or if they live in a condominium. Despite these small restrictions, Colorado solar legislation has made it much easier for homeowners in an HOA to install solar and save.

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