As a result of House Bill 414 from the 2020 Virginia legislative session, homeowners may now provide documentation by an independent solar panel design specialist certified by NABCEP to show that a restriction deemed by the HOA is not reasonable.
The form (you can download the form here) is intended to create a uniform tool to use in the event homeowners’ associations request NABCEP certification as a condition of approval.
“MDV-SEIA was proud to coordinate with member organizations Solar United Neighbors who led the effort to pass the legislation, as well as LEAP and ReisingerGooch who have provided legal resources for homeowners struggling with unreasonable HOA restrictions,” said MDV-SEIA’s Virginia Policy and Development Manager Rachel Smucker.
The General Assembly amended Va. Code 67-701, which provides rights to homeowners living within HOAs to install solar. The amendments were advanced by the solar community because HOAs had insisted that prohibiting solar on front of a residence, or visible from the street, was reasonable.
The statute now provides objective, numeric criteria for what HOA restrictions are “reasonable.” Specifically, an HOA board cannot insist on a restriction that will increase cost by 5% or impair production by 10% or more over the originally proposed installation.
The statute also now also provides that the homeowner “shall provide documentation prepared by an independent solar panel design specialist, who is certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners and is licensed in Virginia, that is satisfactory to the community association to show that the restriction is not reasonable according to the criteria established in this subsection.” Va. Code 67-701(B).
This form is intended as a fillable template that solar installers can populate and that a NABCEP professional can review and sign without having to “reinvent the wheel” every time the situation arises. This will streamline the process and is intended to minimize the burdens on the NABCEP reviewer (and thus decrease cost). The form should also provide a credible, formal vehicle for the documentation to ensure approvability by the HOA.
You can download the form here.
Maryland D.C. Virginia Solar Energy Industry Association (MDV-SEIA) is the second-largest state affiliate of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) with over 160 member organizations, representing over 10,000 solar jobs in the region. Through direct advocacy, policy formation, regulatory intervention and market representation, MDV-SEIA strives to develop and implement strong solar policies to ensure continued market formation for all solar segments in this region and beyond.
David Murray, Executive Director
MD-DC-VA Solar Energy Industry Association firstname.lastname@example.org