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Solar Access Rights

Local ordinances or homeowner's association (HOA) rules can affect the installation of solar systems on homes or businesses. While these rules are often created to ensure uniformity or uphold a community's aesthetic standard, they may inadvertantly prohibit the installation of solar electric or solar heating & cooling technologies. In lieu of outright prohibition, some rules allow third parties to require that solar customers make modifications to their system design which may unreasonably increase costs, decrease efficiency, or both.

Across the country lawmakers are now acting to protect property-owners' solar access rights. Solar easements allow a property owner to negotiate for the rights to unobstructed sunlight on their property. Solar access laws provide more protection to solar customers by prohibiting or limiting private restrictions on solar energy installations. 

SEIA supports strong protection for solar access rights in order to reduce restrictions on the installation of solar technologies nationwide.

Featured Legislation

The Solar Opportunity & Local Access Rights (SOLAR) Act establishes the right of every American to operate a solar energy system on their property. It helps restrict excessive local solar permitting fees, and establishes national net metering and interconnection standards, solar access rights, and 30-year government power contracting authority. It also authorizes the creation of an advanced solar research center within the U.S. Department of Energy. Rep. Cardoza's SOLAR Act would significantly level the playing field for solar energy at the state and local level.

Solar Access Links

  • Solar Policy Guide, Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE) - this guide describes trends in state and local solar access rights, and includes examples of policy best practices and links to more resources
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