Lawmakers in Minnesota have introduced a bill that would check some of the powers that homeowner associations (HOAs) have over residential solar systems. The bill would allow HOAs to regulate, but not ban, the installation of solar systems.

The rules regarding residential solar that HF 257 would allow mainly pertain to the general health and safety of a system, such as making sure the system is installed by a professional and that panels do not hang off of roofs.

Minnesota is one of 23 states where HOAs may forbid members from adding solar to their homes. Associations typically cite aesthetics and the dubious claim that solar panels lower property values. In fact, a 2019 Zillow report found that homes with residential solar systems sold for 4.1% more than their non-solar neighbors.

(Read “Good solar makes good neighbors, researchers say.”)

Outside of aesthetic concerns, some HOAs have denied homeowners’ requests because the association’s bylaws lack specific rules or that the bylaws were written before residential solar installations became prevalent.

For homeowners,  the Minnesota bill restricts HOA bylaws from reducing a solar system’s power output by more than 20% and from increasing costs by more than $2,000 due to any required modifications. That framework is common in other states and further checks the control that HOAs can have on systems.

HF 257 is currently working its way through the Minnesota House. A companion bill has not yet been introduced in the state Senate.

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