Homeowners' Associations and Solar Installations in the Commonwealth of Virginia: A Review of Relevant Law and Solar Benefits to Homeowners

In recent years, Virginia homeowners have increasingly expressed frustration regarding restrictions by Homeowners’ Associations (HOAs) on rooftop solar installations. This educational report on HOA rooftop solar law and benefits is intended for those homeowners and HOAs wrestling with this issue. It provides guidance on relevant laws and the type of restrictions that may be imposed by HOAs on solar.

A home with rooftop solar panels that are HOA approved

This report addresses Virginia laws relevant to the issue of HOA restrictions on rooftop solar installations. The most important law on the topic allows HOAs to adopt “reasonable” restrictions to limit rooftop solar. This report observes that as a general rule, an HOA restriction that increases the cost, reduces the return on investment, or reduces the installation’s production may be unenforceable in many cases. Accordingly, homeowners may generally install rooftop solar where it allows for economic self-production of electricity behind the meter. Our report concludes that HOAs have limited ability to restrict rooftop installations. In instances where disputes proceed to litigation, Virginia law allows homeowners to recover reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.

Finally, this report includes a broader discussion on property rights in the HOA context and HOA restrictions that can be placed on homeowners’ ability to use their property. Important information on the potential benefits of solar to both homeowners and HOAs is also provided.

Those benefits may include:

Benefits of solar panels to homeowners    Utility bill savings
Benefits of solar panels to homeowners    Increased property values
Benefits of solar panels to homeowners    Roof protection
Benefits of solar panels to homeowners    Added resiliency to homes from energy outages when paired with battery backup

Homeowners should first educate and work with their HOAs. When that process does not result in the desired outcome, homeowners do have legal options available to them. Homeowners should explore all of the available options with legal counsel before deciding to pursue litigation.

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DISCLAIMER & TERMS OF — USE

This report has been prepared by ReisingerGooch, PLC (“ReisingerGooch”) for informational purposes only. Nothing presented herein should be construed as legal advice, and your use of these materials does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and ReisingerGooch. You should not act on the information contained herein without seeking the assistance of legal counsel. You should speak with an attorney if you have a situation affecting your legal rights. While ReisingerGooch makes reasonable efforts to ensure that all information presented herein is accurate, ReisingerGooch disclaims all liability for damages of any kind arising from the use of, reference to, or reliance upon, any information contained herein. No warranties or guarantees of any kind are expressed or implied.