New law aims to prevent power-drunk HOAs from banning money-saving home addition: ‘This would eliminate a barrier’

A new bill in Michigan would prevent homeowners associations from banning solar panel installation in their communities, KCUR reported.

The Homeowners’ Energy Policy Act, Michigan House Bill 5028, was introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives in September 2023. If passed, it would nullify any HOA rule or bylaw that bans solar panels.

It would also sharply limit the conditions and restrictions an HOA can put on solar panel installation, protecting the homeowner from interference that would affect the efficiency of the system or the cost of installation.

The decision has been long awaited for homeowners like Rick Freiman of Portage, Michigan. According to KCUR, Freiman applied to his HOA for solar panel installation in 2020 but was denied.

Frieman and others like him have been missing out on the major monetary savings that come from generating your own electricity at home. They’re also losing out on the increased home value that comes from investing in this technology.

“I was amazed and excited that this would eliminate a barrier to people who do want to put solar panels on their houses that — and that could not for the … same reason as me,” Freiman said.

One of the bill’s sponsors, Representative Christine Morse of Texas Township, told KCUR that enabling homeowners to choose solar is also an important step toward the state’s targets for generating clean, non-polluting energy.

Sources of electricity like wind and solar power don’t generate air pollution, while traditional power plants running on coal and oil products do — so switching to solar is a smart move for the planet.

“It’s going to be really difficult to get there if we have HOAs fighting us every step of the way,” Morse said.

Laws similar to this already exist across the country. According to PEP Solar, 25 states have solar access laws on the books, and a federal law is a possibility in the near future. However, there are still many areas where an HOA has the right to deny residents solar panels, slowing down America’s move to affordable, clean energy.

Michigan is almost there, though. According to KCUR, its new bill has been referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources, Environment, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation.

In the meantime, tenants who are struggling with their HOAs should follow this guide to changing HOA bylaws.

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