The path to becoming energy self-sufficient by leveraging the power of solar energy is a worthy goal. Having said that, it is also true that for some, the path to ‘going green’ can be more circuitous, particularly if you are a member of a homeowners’ association (HOA). The purpose of a HOA is to protect the value of the various properties in the Association by ensuring that one homeowner doesn’t do something that would negatively affect the value of other homes in the Association. Many Homeowners’ Associations are cohesive and rally behind the same common goals. Others, however, can have stringent rules enforcing anything you do outside the walls of your home (additions, awnings and yes, solar panels).
Most Homeowners’ Associations will require you to seek permission for any alterations or renovations to your home. It’s quite possible your HOA could deny your request to install solar panels on your home citing aesthetic or other reasons. At Cedar Creek Energy, we want to do everything possible to help you move forward with your residential solar energy project.
Following are some steps you can take if you are interested in installing solar panels on your home, and you belong to a Homeowners’ Association.
- To begin, Cedar Creek Energy will assess your home for compatibility with a solar panel installation. Cedar Creek Energy does free solar evaluations for homeowners interested in solar panels. Contact us to schedule a free energy assessment. During the visit we will:
- Assess the age and durability of your roof or the location for your ground-mounted system
- Determine the optimum placement of solar panels for maximum collection of power from the sun
- Review of any obstructions including trees or telephone poles, and how to work around them
- Discuss our recommendations on the best mounting system for your home (ground or roof mount)
- Share the experiences we have had with other homeowners’ associations where we have successfully installed solar panels for homeowners
- Any external additions or modifications should be addressed in the bylaws. We encourage you to read the bylaws of your HOA to see if there any requirements related to solar panel installation. See how stringent the rules look and prepare to make a case to your HOA on the benefits of solar power, that solar panels show the association is earth-friendly and progressive, and show their commitment to helping HOA members save significant money on their electric bills.
- If you think that Solar panels will be allowed in your community, get an estimate and some rough drawings of how the solar panels might look. Cedar Creek Energy provides the estimate and rough drawings free of charge.
- Contact your HOA President and ask to be added to an upcoming meeting to discuss an external variance you would like to pursue.
- Talk to your neighbors about solar. Let them know you are interested in solar because it can cut your electric bill by 90%. You can even share a case study from a Cedar Creek Energy residential customer which highlights their extremely positive experience with the whole experience. Check out the Wheeler Family Case Study.
- Attend the association meeting armed with the rough drawings, as well as other HOAs your solar contractor has worked with and their experiences.
If you are looking for a Minnesota-based Solar contractor who can analyze, design, install and maintain your solar energy system, contact us.