by William B. Campbell, III, VP of Sales and Marketing, Campbell Property Management

Solar Panels Solar panels are a big expense. However, to many residents they are worth every single penny. Solar panels can not only decrease electricity costs each month, but they also add to a home’s overall value. Florida law allows homeowners to install solar panels and/or collectors on their homes or rooftops, even if the covenants or homeowners’ association’s rules say otherwise.

A quote from section 163.04 of the Florida Statute reads as follows:

“A property owner may not be denied permission to install solar collectors or other energy devices by any entity granted the power or right in any deed restriction, covenant, declaration, or similar binding agreement to approve, forbid, control, or direct alteration of property with respect to residential dwellings and within the boundaries of a condominium unit.”

Whether your condo or homeowner association approves of it or not, residents are free to install solar panels or solar collectors at their own convenience. However, the community association may determine the specific location where solar collectors may be installed on the roof.

Click here for more information on solar rights laws and solar panels in the state of Florida.  Check out the U.S. Department of Energy for all you need to know about renewable energy solar incentives, energy efficiency, etc.

Has your association had a resident who wished to install solar panels or collectors? How was this handled? We want to know in the comment section below.

  1. Adam says:

    Recently we got solar panel installed from the company Solar Tech Elec LLC. They are the best in the business. Had nothing less than excellent work and professionalism. Highly recommend them. If anyone interested Call now to know more +1 (727) 488-8634

  2. Cesar says:

    My name Cesar and I live in a townhouse community that 2-3 story buildings and high ceilings. The majority of the roofs cannot be seen. Our association does not allow solar panels for two reasons, one that they feel it’s an eye soar and two not everyone in the community has good access to shade free roofs. Florida recently had an Amendment (#1) on this years election ballot. I voted “Yes” because it stated that everyone is entitled to produce their own electricity. Later to find out that it was a bait and switch tactic from the utilities companies. The bait according to the news was that you can produce your own electricity “which is not true in my case” and the switch was that utility companies wouldn’t have to pay out to energy producing homes for excess energy produced from solar and wind that they can sell to other customers. I am glad the law did not pass but on the other hand I am still upset my Association won’t allow me to produce my own electricity.

    • Anonymous says:

      Your association cannot, according to Florida law, refuse the installation of solar panels. It actually does not matter if they think it’s an eye sore nor that everyone has a shade-free roof. If they deny the request, they would be in violation of Florida’s solar rights law (which already existed well before the Amendment you referenced).

      • Nick Notarnicola says:

        Does the statute apply to solar panels only or can it apply to any improvement that improves the home’s energy efficency? My HOA refused my request to install a metal roof which is known to lower energy usage.

      • Stephen says:

        I live in Florida. Is there also a federal law pertaining to Solar of any kind, such as solar tubes & panels. Also, do you know if an HOA can prohibit solar tubes to be installed in a villa. I live in a community that has homes 2/3 & villa 1/3 but we are under Florida Statute 720. I was just wondering how they actually determined to put this all under 720 since ther is a mixture.

        • Dan Tiernan, COO Campbell says:

          the way I understand the law it is related to “solar collectors” of any kind – they can’t be prohibited by HOA’s, Condos or Citys or any governing body. There are some limitations regarding where they can be placed, but only as long as they do not diminish their effectiveness (they actually use the word efficacy).

          • Derrick says:

            Within the state of Florida:
            The point of installing solar panels to generate an alternative form of electricity. The placement of these panels is critical to the efficiency of the if it ends up on the predominantly view side of a home because that is where they need to go to generate electricity and as long as it is installed per the building permit requirements and HOA “cannot” dissuade or interfere with the installation regardless of which orientation is used. But you will need to provide a system designed by a certified photovoltaic systems engineer that proves the orientation is necessary to generate electricity. In that case the HOA has “ZERO” power. It would not make sense to allow an HOA to force you to conceal the panels from site if that orientation produced zero electricity. This law was written specifically to prevent HOA interference.
            I own a company that designs and provides alternative energies systems designs and installations in Florida I have owned an operated it for 15 years. I have sat in court as an expert witness..this is one of the few areas an HOA has very little power. I have seen a judge dismiss an HOAs claim in less than 15minutes.

    • Dee Forde says:

      In a townhouse community, the Association owns the roofs along with the responsibility to maintain those roofs. Putting panels owned by a unit owner and not the Association on the roofs subjects the Association to additional maintenance, insurance issues, and a host of other obligations that are now forced on all owners, not just the ones with solar panels. Seems rather selfish to expect an Association to absorb those expenses and the liabilities that go with the panels. What happens if mounting hardware fails and a panel falls causing property damage, or worse yet, someone is injured? Then what?

  3. Donna Crane says:

    3rd year with solar on my house and so far it has saved me 71% on my energy over the 2 year previous to that….my energy company makes it very easy to track my usage and compare. The solar installer said to expect about a 50% savings when I bought it and I figured I’d make my investment back in 5 -7 years. Will be quicker than that now for people having it installed because they are cheaper than when I got them…and yes I had a subsidy to help buy it. I love having a lower electric bill but I also love that I’m helping the environment.

  4. dlb says:

    The trick to this is that the HOA decides WHERE to locate your panels. It wouldn’t be a very effective system if HOA decides the panels are more attractive on a northeast corner of your home

    • Anonymous says:

      there are requirements in the law that state the placement cannot effect the efficency or increase the cost of the device. it has to be placed on the southern facing side or within 45degrees of south.

      • Dee Forde says:

        Or as feasible. Just because somebody wants solar panels doesn’t mean that somebody else has to have them in view from the street. Just like ancillary equipment, nobody should have to look at somebody else’s equipment scattered all about their lot. People with solar panels, rain barrels, and other equipment like to think they’re virtuous and above anybody who doesn’t want to see property littered with all manner of apparatus.

  5. Bob says:

    Rob E.,
    It seems that you are either a free loading Republican, or just a Wealthy free loading Republican. Either way, we’re happy you are in FL. This way you can rip off the other BS free enterprise Republicans. Or you can look at your actions and decide that there other people in the State that don’t enjoy people that take from the “not so wealthy” for their own selfish reasons. Of course, if you did that you would be a Democrat. But by the time your Republican Congress finishes building a nation of a poorer Middle Class with less money to spend, less income to base their tax outlay on you may understand why the 2014 election built a foundation for a unworkable future.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m not sure how your response relates to the subject, but it should be possible to state your opinion without resorting to insults and political ranting.

    • Will says:

      Hoa mostly care about increasing the value of your home and the surrounding properties, because adding a solar panel will always do that the state makes it so Hoa members can’t just deny you because of their individual taste in buildings

      • Anonymous says:

        Solar panels that actually generate electricity back onto the state power grid actually INCREASE a homes value and there are many way to have them installed that in the end cost you nothing. Zero interest loans, state credits, federal credits..grid payback…Floridians have a unique opportunities but soo many people here do not understand they have all these opportunities.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes! I agree. Solar is very important. Just think if Puerto Rico had been 20% Solar–or more…! Now, one question…can solar been hurricane proofed.? One advantage f solar is that it can be for an individual location..So, one building may lose electicity but the one next to iit can have electricity. BIg advantage.

  6. Tayeum says:

    Unless the price is fair I think they are a rip off. I was going to buy a condo and I was told the HOA fee was every 6 months. Come to find out I was going to pay 230 every month. For what? I can cut the stamp size grass, don’t use the pool, tennis court or rec area. And you pay all utilities. So for one person they will get over 2,760 times that from the other 500 units. A found out later people had to shovel out from our last storm storm

    • Rogal says:

      Well you must have a crappy HOA. Go ahead cut your own grass, shovel snow, dump trash, do all the maintenance you would normally do to the outside of a home! That is why people live in condos that take care of all that. Quit your complaining, no one forced you to move there!

      • Nisouchi says:

        Hey there Negative Nancy! Way to spread that nastiness like poop on your finger under someone’s nose. Why not think of a more positive, constructive and productive way to get your point across. Unless you want more people pointing out what a DICK you sound like.

        Have a great day! 😉

    • Dave says:

      As owner of a condo. You are part owner of all common ground, including the pool clubhouse any and all open areas. As owner you are responsible for their maintenance. The value of your unit is based on these features. even if you never use them. I have never heard of a condo that did not have a monthly fee. who pays your water bill and sewer bill. they aren’t free if you live in a condo. You’re a blithering idiot. You need to go live under a bridge if you don’t want to pay for what you get.

  7. Norman Ebanks says:

    I love my HOA! The association helps keeps a check on the crazies. Idiots that move in and want to paint the property purple, others that want to cement the grass areas. One owner that want to erect several 15 feet flagpoles to memorialize his military career. One owner that wanted to put up a giant satellite dish, attached to the front of their roof that could receive signals from Pluto. We were able to stop the dish because the engineers reported that the structural integrity of the roof would be threatened by the additional weight. The individual then wanted us to pay for the reinforcement of the structure. Unless I can afford to purchase property with enough land so that I can’t see my neighbors, I will live in a strict HOA.
    BTW, who is going to pay for the extra cost, to repair the roof when it needs to be repaired?

      • Duh says:

        Do you not understand Freedom? You were FREE NOT to move into a community with HOA rules in place. IF you CHOOSE to move into a neighborhood with an HOA then you need to abide by the rules.

          • Anonymous says:

            this is essentiually true..there are some restrictions but they are negligible.

            You can also install a close-line to hang dry clothes outside on your property..under the same state statute

    • Dee Forde says:

      People move into deed restricted communities with the mindset that “I’ll do what I want”. Many communities have fallen into disrepair because of lax and ineffective boards who would rather be liked than do the job that’s required of a board member, and that’s put the Association first and the individual second. While one person may like the look of solar panels, another may not. In condos and townhouses, the Association owns the roof and is responsible for its maintenance. Who absorbs the extra cost? Everybody, even the people who voted no on solar installation. What all your own decisions, then move into a single residence and not in any type deed restricted property with covenants, and rules. And realize, wherever you live, there will always be city, county, state and federal folks telling you what you can and cannot do.

    • Maggie in VA says:

      As a practical matter, the first thing we had to do when we bought a house was make sure there was no HOA or restrictive covenants, because my husband works on vintage cars as his hobby. I am far less afraid of people cementing over their lawn or painting their homes purple than some of the lunacy I’ve read and heard personally from folks who live in complexes with HOAs. Flag pole with the U.S. flag? HOAs have harassed owners with them. Clothes line? Many HOAs prohibit those. Oh, and a friend was harassed by her neighbor when she and her family hung towels over their lawn chairs to dry in their fenced-in back yard based on that clothes line prohibition.

  8. michael e katz says:

    Several years ago I looked into covering our roofs (2 x 44,000 sq ft) with solar panels. Cost was over $1MM. Graphing it out gave little payback over a ten year period. FPL and the State of Florida did not have enough subsidy money so it became impossible to see the idea to 400 unit owners.

    I imagine that by now subsidies are more generous.

    • Rob.E. says:

      Being a real estate investor and a free market capitalist, I frown when the state takes money from me to further their pet projects by giving my money to others, but that having been said, if the state wants to give you money, take it! They have already taken enough from all of us in the forms of taxes, fees and guilt. Use any opportunity to get some of it back.

      • Anonymous says:

        Some of these responses are far off topic by complaining about their own personal HOA. I want to learn about solar, not your HOA.

    • Anonymous says:

      State and federal credits for up to 30% of the raw cost of the products…there are also incentives for seer rated AC units..appliances…lights…

      There are zero interest loans and if enough panels are installed and the electricity is sent back through the FPL grids you receive a payment for that electricity and more often than not it will pay for monthly loan payment costing you nothing. The ROI ranges from a year to 7 years at this point because the efficiency and size of the panels has increased exponentially over the past 10 years and continues to do so.
      America is an energy pig consuming almost a 3rd the worlds energy needs with only about 1/8th the worlds population. A

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