States Make Installing Solar Easier

A number of states have passed legislation to make installing solar power in your home easier. These laws overcome local attempts to stall prevent solar installations by homeowners associations or cities primarily for aesthetic reasons.

Since 2005, eight states, including four last year, have enacted laws to abolish stringent rules imposed by some homeowners associations and local agencies on residents who want to power their homes with the sun or wind. These states include California, Arizona, Florida. A number of others have bills pending.

Some new laws say homeowners groups can't ban such technology. Others say local governments can't enforce rules that significantly raise the cost of installing eco-friendly energy systems.

"If you're going to have local governments and condo associations saying, 'Solar panels are ugly,' that's a real stumbling block," says state Democratic Rep. Karen May, a sponsor of a "solar rights bill" pending in Illinois.

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