How to get solar approval from an HOA
How to get solar approval from an HOA
It’s helpful to understand the typical process for getting approval for a solar installation from an HOA so that you are better able to guide your customer through it.
There are a lot of things that you have to consider if you want to go solar in your community and work with HOA ( Homeowners Association). We will give you some advice! This cant be an issue.
5 strategies to expedite the HOA application process
1. Know your state’s laws
“Solar access” laws that protect homeowners’ rights during the HOA solar approval process have been adopted by many states — in fact, there are now over 25 states that have some version of solar access rights.
Given that you may be the one educating your customers about their rights in this respect, it’s important to know your state’s existing laws, whether they provide protections from HOA solar restrictions, and what forms they take.
What are solar access laws and how do they work?
Solar access laws prevent HOAs from prohibiting solar panel installations or having contracts that restrict homeowners from installing them. However, HOAs can usually make certain requests about a system, as long as they don’t make the proposed solar system less effective or more expensive. For example, HOAs are often allowed to place certain restrictions on systems, like retaining the right to influence design elements of a rooftop solar array, such as requiring that all electrical wiring be placed out of sight.
The actual provisions of solar access laws vary widely by state and comprehensive information about state and local rules is available at the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE).
2. Be your customer’s guide through the HOA approval process
Functioning as your prospect’s expert on how to navigate their HOA’s solar stipulations and state laws from the beginning of the sales process can go a long way towards winning the deal.
Find out the HOA’s rules about PV panel installation early, particularly any rules regarding design and placement. These can impact aspects of the installation process, such as system price, even if your state has solar access laws.
Gauge your prospect’s level of familiarity with this topic and make sure they’re aware of their HOA’s rules, as well as their state’s laws. “Many homeowners are not aware of their rights,” says Custard.
3. Have a Streamlined HOA Application Process
It helps to show your prospects that you and your team are aware of how to achieve an expedited approval process. For example, there are ways you can reassure a prospect’s HOA and address their concerns. This can be done by demonstrating how PV panels can increase property values and providing examples of successful installations you have done for similar neighborhoods and home types.
4. Be Creative and Flexible
HOA rules may require that you adjust your approach and think outside the box, even in a state with solar access laws. Victory Solar’s Busby had a couple real-world examples to help show the importance of flexibility and creativity:
- Victory Solar was able to secure approval for a client with a Spanish tile roof whose HOA had already rejected ground mount system proposals from three different contractors. They did this by suggesting a ballasted ground mount system with a black mesh fence screen to obscure the system from view. It included removing the grass and putting in white rock for a flat roof commercial system on the ground and ensuring the system was below the fence line.
You may also consider adjusting the equipment you use. For example, using solid black panels.
5. Educate Solar Prospects and HOAs
Providing educational information to both prospects and HOAs is a great way to help improve the HOA approval process, and ultimately close more business.
This may mean providing homeowners with information about HOA prohibitions and restrictions regarding solar in order to encourage them to ask questions before they buy a home. It may also mean seeking ways to educate HOA boards about removing outdated strictures or easing overly prohibitive rules.
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