By Nancy Simmet, HOA homeowner and Solar United Neighbors solar advocate
Like more and more Minnesotans, I want to produce clean, renewable solar energy from my rooftop. But there is a problem for me. My home is part of a Homeowners Associations (HOA) and my HOA has blocked my effort to go solar. As I have learned more about this issue, I have discovered that this is a common occurrence for HOA homeowners that want to go solar and is slowing the growth of rooftop solar in our state.
Fortunately, state legislation has been introduced (House File 257 & Senate File 381) that would give HOA homeowners like me the right to go solar. HOA’s could still place reasonable restrictions on the solar array but could not block it. The legislation has bi-partisan support in the House and Senate and if it passes my dream to go solar can become reality.
Please, let your state legislators know you support this legislation by clicking here: Tell lawmakers to protect solar in Minnesota from unfair HOA limits
This issue impacts a lot of Minnesotans. Minnesota has 7,725 HOA’s making us 15th in the country for number of HOA’s. There are 1,506,000 Minnesotans living in these HOA’s. That is just over 1 in 4 Minnesotans. Many HOA homes like mine are perfect for solar with large, flat roofs with no shading from trees.
I have owned my home in the Oakpointe of Eagan Homeowners Association since August of 1999 and even served on the first community board of the association. During the summer of 2020, I heard of the Federal and local incentives that were being offered to put solar panels on the roof of your home. Due to an interest in the environment and Covid giving me nothing but time to research, I dug in. I gathered information on solar installations and solar companies. I found a local solar company that put together a comprehensive package that met my homes specifications.
Next, I approached my HOA board to apply for approval. I forwarded the information and filled out the HOA application form that they required for outside changes or construction. I submitted all the information on October 13, 2020. I received the rejection email the following day, October 14, 2020. Basically, no discussion between the Board members or with me. Just following what has been done in the past with the outdated 1999 bylaws.
I was and still am very disappointed in this rejection and think it is wrong and bad for HOA homeowners. Why?
I believe in renewable energy and that the consequences of NOT moving forward are real.
I believe Minnesota can be a leader in the renewable energy field by developing businesses and manufacturing jobs to meet our future head on!
And I believe with proper restrictions, that HOA homeowners have a right to put solar energy panels on their own roofs. That it is architecturally attractive and, indeed, an update that improves the association as a forward-thinking community in which people want to live.
Since the rejection, I ran and got voted on to the Oakpointe Association board. Now I can say as a HOA homeowner and board member, I strongly support this legislation. Please, let your legislator know that you support it too – Tell lawmakers to protect solar in Minnesota from unfair HOA limits