The use of solar energy is becoming more and more common in the United States. Recently, the U.S. Department of Energy said that solar energy is more affordable and available than it has been in the past.
However, if you desire to install solar panels on your property you will be subject to certain rules and regulations. These requirements may vary between the states and even your Homeowner’s Association.
Generally, the sunlight you will need to fuel the panels will need to pass through the airspace of your neighbors because the United States does not receive sunlight from directly overhead. As such, if you install solar devices, then your neighbors will be restricted in the way they can use their land.
In order to legally obtain and maintain access to solar energy, you will have to enter into some type of agreement that grants you access to your neighbor’s airspace. Some things you can do to achieve this are:
However, out of all of these options, solar easements are increasingly popular and the most common way to start the process to install solar panels.
If you are part of an Homeowners Association (HOA) then you might run into some roadblocks when trying to install solar panels. Many HOA’s will require that you submit paperwork that explains what you will be doing and how long the process will take.
However, due to growing popularity of solar power and legislation, like the Solar Rights Act, many HOA’s are not allowed to ban solar panels if you live in a state that has enacted a solar access law.
A local real estate attorney can advise you of the laws and regulations in your area that restrict or encourage access to solar energy. An attorney can also help you draft an agreement (such as an easement or covenant) with your neighbor that provides you access to the solar energy sources that you need.
In addition, an attorney can help you if a dispute arises about your use of solar energy. If a neighbor complains of glare being created from solar panels on your property, they may be able to sue you for damages. If this occurs you should contact an attorney to assist you in court.
Last Modified: 08-16-2018 12:25 AM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
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