Can a Homeowners Association Restrict Solar Panels in Maryland?

 Many customers worry that their Homeowners Association (HOA) might interfere with their solar installation. That’s understandable. Many HOA’s have extremely strict rules about everything else. 

The short answer is… the HOA cannot stop you from putting solar panels on your home. 

The long answer is… the HOA cannot set “unreasonable limitations” on elements of the solar system. To get away from a double negative, that means the HOA can set reasonable restrictions on the solar system design. Most of those reasonable restrictions make a lot of sense, so we usually have nothing to worry about. Let’s look at what Energy Select does to make sure this is a positive solar experience with your HOA.

Working with Your HOA

There are some understandable concerns. Not every solar installation company cares about the look of the system and its impact on the home and neighborhood.

Our first step is to make sure you are completely satisfied with the installation plan before we head to engineering, permitting, and only then to the HOA.

The HOA’s authority over solar is defined by Maryland Code, Real Property § 2-119. The code states that the HOA cannot make any “unreasonable limitations” that “significantly increases the cost of the solar collector system” or that “significantly decreases the efficiency of the solar collector system.”

So what does that mean?

Here are a couple of examples:

  • An HOA could tell you that the inverter cannot be mounted on the front of the house. However, if there were no other option (rare) or it would drive up cost (also rare), the HOA could not hold you to that restriction.
  • The HOA could NOT mandate that you have to put the panels on the shady side of the house to hide it from view because that would significantly hurt the solar panel efficiency.

We have installed systems in many Southern Maryland neighborhoods overseen by an HOA. We’ve never come across two HOA’s that handle solar installations the same. We recommend that you reach out to your HOA to see what they require. Typically, a friendly notification is enough to satisfy the HOA, but we’ve signed agreements, provided engineered drawings and proposal details, and contractor licensing information. Whatever they dream up, we’ll handle it. We are right here to support getting your solar system installed just the way you want it.