As part of an ongoing effort to establish a balanced approach to bringing more solar to HOA-governed communities, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability USA, in collaboration with The Solar Foundation and as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership, hosts a webinar entitled Solar Powering Your Community Association: Updating Design Guidelines for Solar.
As the cost of residential solar energy continues its steady decline, more homeowners across the nation are becoming interested in unlocking the environmental and financial benefits solar can offer. While the desire to go solar has grown over time, so too has the number of communities governed by homeowners associations (HOAs). The solar development potential of these communities is immense. Installing solar on only 5% of all U.S. homes governed by HOAs would create as much new solar capacity as was added in the entire country in 2012. In fulfilling their mission to protect community aesthetics and to balance new development with other competing interests, HOAs have often established design guidelines for solar energy that can jeopardize a homeowner’s return on investment in solar, make the approval process for solar installations unnecessarily confusing or complex, or overlook solar energy altogether. Fortunately, there are ways in which these barriers can be addressed while respecting HOA authority to protect other community interests.