HOA and Solar Panels: FAQs

Make your community energy-efficient with solar-powered homes. Learn how residential solar can improve your HOA's Value to Homeowners.

Have a question that isn’t answered below? Contact us! There should never be any unanswered questions when you choose to go solar. We are here to share our expertise and help you understand all the benefits that solar energy entails.

Protect Against High Costs

Aesthetics

Common Concerns

Home Value

Solar Implementation

 Protections

How Solar Protects Against High Costs

One of the reasons why an HOA should be comfortable with solar in its community is that solar decreases electric costs for homeowners.

Electricity through utilities has ever-increasing rates. In the past, homeowners had to suck it up and pay for it. However, this doesn't need to be the case. Solar gives homeowners a different energy option.

Grid Reform and Energy Security

Solar has spurred grid reform. Homeowners now have complete control over their energy. 

Electricity impacts today's society more than any generation before. Trends show that more people are working from home than ever before. When homeowners use solar arrays and battery backup together, they increase the continuity of electricity.

Impact of Utility Rate Structures on Distributed Solar

In a nutshell, higher utility rates increase the savings that solar can provide. The savings of solar is dependent on how it compares to the utility the customer is already using.

Net Metering

When homes have solar added to them, they have a new meter installed. The best metering type is net metering. This metering type gives homeowners the retail rate for excess solar put on the grid, making excess solar worth the same as the power taken off the grid.

Time of Use Metering

The time of use metering isn't as beneficial for solar homes because the price for electricity in the evening is generally higher than it is in the morning. However, solar customers can maximize their savings by completing high-energy chores such as laundry during the day when their solar array is working at its best.

Fixed Charges

Fixed charges are when a utility charges a flat rate for electricity each month. The problem with this is that these rates can change from one year to the next. Another issue is that this flat rate may not reflect how much energy the customer is using that month.

Homeowners that get solar should make sure that they don't have fixed utility charges because they could end up paying more then they need to for their energy as a result.

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Aesthetics of Solar Panels

Not everyone thinks solar panels have street appeal. The look of solar panels is often one of the reasons that HOAs have an issue with solar on the homes in its association.

However, not all solar panels stand out like a sore thumb. There are multiple solar panel options and install methods that hide solar from the untrained eye.

The flexibility that these options offer makes finding a solar option that meets the aesthetics that the HOA has agreed on a non-issue. 

HOA Solar Panel Restrictions

While most HOA's don't or can't ban solar panels, they can place restrictions. These restrictions are often in line with what the HOA feels is going to increase street appeal.

Solar Shingles

Solar shingles are the most popular aesthetic approach to solar. Solar shingles, however, are best for new builds or homes that need the roof replaced. However, these are also one of the more expensive solar options.

Monocrystalline Solar Panels

Monocrystalline solar panels are the best option for efficiency and the next best option for athletics. These solar panels are black, which helps them blend more easily into the roofline. At Go Solar Group, we use a high-quality black on black Axitec 60-cell 300-watt monocrystalline solar panel.

Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Polycrystalline solar panels are often blue in hue. They also aren’t as efficient as monocrystalline solar panels.

Thin Film Solar Panels

Thin-film solar panels have several different production methods. They are typically less efficient and best for homes with lots of extra space. Per-solar-panel, thin-film is cheaper, but more solar panels are required to meet the needs of a home, and the warranties are often shorter.

New Solar Panels on the Market

There are several new solar panels on the market right now. However, because they are new, they haven't been tested and are therefore less commonly used for residential solar.

Solar Mounting Options

There are several solar mounting options for homeowners. The mounting system to choose depends on the type of roof, the shading, and where the homeowner has space.

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Common Concerns About Solar

The aesthetics of the solar array isn't always the reason an HOA has concerns about letting their community install solar. Often there are safety concerns as well.

Solar Panels and Glare

Some feel that solar panels may cause aviation concerns with the glare from solar panels. NREL, however, has found that solar panels have less glare than windows and water. Solar panels are designed to reduce glare so they can be more energy efficient.

Are Solar Panels a Fire Hazard?

While there have been a few cases of solar-panel caused fires, they are rare. The typical cause of solar panel fires is improper installation. Choosing a solar company with a good track record and certified electricians will ensure your array installation is correct.

Does Solar Increase the Chance of Cancer?

While solar does emit some electromagnetic field radiation, it isn't enough to increase someone's risk of cancer. If this is a concern, there are steps that homeowners can take to decrease solar-related radiation.

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Solar Power Can Increase Home Value

One of the benefits of getting solar is the added value it gives a home. This added value means that homeowners can save even more if they decide to move.

The catch, however, is that not every solar financing option increases the value of the home. Making the right solar financing option a requirement for HOA residents will increase home value in the neighborhood. It will also decrease the stress of the homeowner when they are ready to move.

Why Purchased is Better Than Leased Solar Panels

Purchased solar arrays increase the value of a home. Purchased solar panels increase home value because the homeowner owns them, meaning they can sell them. Homeowners that purchase solar also qualify for federal tax credits, which account for a large portion of the costs associated with photovoltaics.

If a homeowner leases solar, the solar company that installed it owns it. The solar company also gets the federal tax credits associated with the installation.

Cash Vs. Loan

The best purchasing option for solar is cash. Go Solar Group offers a 10 percent discount to customers that pay in cash. Cash purchases also save more because there isn't any interest.

Although cash is the best option, financing solar is still a great financing choice. It allows the homeowner to own the panels without having to buy them outright, and the homeowner can save significantly more than they would if they leased the solar array.

Value of Solar

There is a slew of benefits that come with the installation of solar. Some of these benefits include jobs, electric bill savings, increased public health, energy security, and improvement to the grid. 

What are the benefits of going solar?

Ways to Implement Solar in an HOA

While residential solar is the most commonly heard of, it isn't the only way to implement solar for homeowners in HOA communities. There are a couple of other options that HOA's can consider.

Residential Solar

Residential solar allows each homeowner to decide if they would like to opt into solar. This option is best for homeowners that have good credit and ample unshaded space either on their roof or in the yard.

Community Solar

Community solar is a way for homeowners with limited space or renters to purchase solar for their homes at a lower rate than their electricity without installing it on anyone's home. This solar option requires enough open space for an array large enough to power the whole neighborhood.

Utility Solar Programs

Several utilities are realizing the potential of solar power and have created solar programs. Some of these programs work like leased solar.

Other solar programs work like community solar without the necessity for anyone in the neighborhood needing a certain amount of space. However, these programs are often in addition to the rate that the customer is already paying for electricity.

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Solar Protections for HOA Homeowners

Because solar is becoming increasingly popular, many states have gone out of their way to protect homeowner's rights in HOAs. Two regulations ensure HOA homeowners can install solar. 

These regulations include solar access laws and solar easements. Solar access laws and solar easements make solar an option even if an HOA is resistant.

Solar Access Laws

There are solar access laws in most states. These laws prohibit HOAs from stopping a homeowner from installing solar. However, it can still implement restrictions on the installation.

Solar Easements

Solar Easements are restrictions that protect homeowners from the unnecessary shade on the solar panels. Some easements restrict large trees and buildings from being near homes with solar panels. Property owners typically make solar easement agreements with their HOA or neighbors to ensure their investment isn't going to be hindered by others later on.

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