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Solar Access Laws by State

The words "Solar Access Laws by State" over an image of legal books, representing various solar access laws (aka solar rights laws or solar zoning laws) which are legal codes that protect a homeowner's right to access solar energy.
PublishedJuly 21, 2023
UpdatedMay 17, 2024
AuthorBrian ChurchWriterEditorCory O'Brien HeadshotCory O'BrienSenior Director - Growth Marketing
In this article
01.
States Solar Access Laws FAQ
02.
Solar Access Laws by State
03.
Palmetto is here to help you access solar!

Solar access laws, also known as solar rights laws or solar zoning laws, refer to any legal code that protects your right to access sunlight and solar electricity production.

In the United States, solar access laws are enforced in many different capacities, primarily to prevent HOAs from denying solar panel installations.

Although access laws change from time to time (just like everything else in the solar industry), the local governments that have introduced such policies over the years have typically kept their solar rights codified over time. As clean energy goals and legislation continue to catch on, this guide will showcase some of the solar access laws that advocates have implemented in the United States through 2023.  

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States Solar Access Laws FAQ

But first… let’s look at a few frequently asked questions to establish some groundwork for solar access law basics. 

Are there federal solar access laws?

No. In the United States, there are no federal solar access laws in 2023. Instead, solar power access laws may be controlled at the state, county, or city level, depending on your location.

Is solar illegal in any state?

No, although lacking access laws can allow Homeowner Associations (HOAs) and other organizations to deny installations, solar panels are legal everywhere in the United States. With that being said, unpermitted systems are illegal to operate in many American jurisdictions, even in states with solar access laws.

What is the difference between solar access laws and solar easement laws?

Solar access and easement laws are both designed to help homeowners go solar, but in slightly different capacities. While access laws limit building and zoning restrictions on solar panels, easement laws exist for homeowners to legally maintain their access to adequate sunlight in agreement with other property owners.

Solar Access Laws by State

Alabama

There are no official solar access or easement laws in Alabama.

Alaska

There are no solar access laws in Alaska, though property owners can create solar easements.

Arizona

With laws dating back decades, Arizona solar access laws were fortified in 2007’s Senate Bill 1254 which states “an association shall not prohibit the installation or use of a solar energy device” but may “adopt reasonable rules regarding the placement of a solar energy device if those rules do not prevent the installation, impair the functioning of the device or restrict its use or adversely affect the cost or efficiency of the device.”

Arkansas

Although Arkansas’s Senate Bill 145 earned the nickname “The Arkansas Solar Access Act” by making it easier to go solar in the state, AR does not have any specific access laws in place that address the power of HOA rules.

California

The California Solar Rights Act “limits the ability of covenants, conditions, and restrictions, typically enforced by homeowner associations (hereinafter “HOAs”), and local governments to restrict solar installations” with many locales enforcing more specific regulations at the city and county level.

Colorado

Colorado’s solar access and easement laws date back to 1979 and were updated by the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act in 2021. The Act “adds specificity to the requirement that HOAs allow installation of renewable energy generation devices (e.g., solar panels) subject to reasonable aesthetic guidelines.”

Connecticut

Added to the Connecticut Clean Air Act in 2023, CT was the last New England state to establish solar access laws, though HOAs “may adopt rules on the size and placement of solar installations.”

Delaware

Established in 2009, Delaware Code Title 25 outlines the state’s solar access laws which limit an HOA’s power to only enforce reasonable restrictions that do “not significantly increase the cost of the roof mounted system for obtaining solar energy or significantly decrease the system’s efficiency or specified performance.”

Florida

The Florida Senate Statute Section 163.04 states “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. Such entity may determine the specific location where solar collectors may be installed on the roof within an orientation to the south or within 45° east or west of due south if such determination does not impair the effective operation of the solar collectors.”

Georgia

While Georgia's Solar Easements Act of 1978 allows system owners to negotiate their access to sunlight, there are no HOA-restrictive solar access laws in the Peach State.

Hawaii

Hawaii's Energy Resources Code 196-7 states that “no person shall be prevented by any covenant, declaration, bylaws, restriction, deed, lease, term, provision, condition, codicil, contract, or similar binding agreement, however worded, from installing a solar energy device on any single-family residential dwelling or townhouse that the person owns.”

Idaho

Idaho House Bill 158 specifies that “no homeowner’s association may add, amend, or enforce any covenant, condition, or restriction in such a way that limits or prohibits the installation of solar panels or solar collectors on the rooftop of any property or structure therein within the jurisdiction of the homeowners association. a homeowners association May adopt reasonable rules regarding the placement of solar panels or solar collectors if those rules do not prevent the installation of the device and pair the functioning of the device or restrict its use or adversely affect the cost or efficiency of the device.”

Illinois

Created in 2021, Illinois'  Homeowners' Energy Policy Statement Act enforces that “any power by the governing entity of a homeowners' association, common interest community association, or condominium unit owners' association which prohibits or has the effect of prohibiting the installation of a solar energy system is expressly prohibited.”

Indiana

The House Enrolled Act 1196 fortified solar access laws in Indiana, allowing residents to petition HOAs attempting to deny installations. While HOAs in Indiana “may prohibit the installation, use, or removal of a solar energy system under certain circumstances,” the 2022 bill limits these circumstances to 10 sensible reasons such as threats to public safety or if panels are not flush with the roof angle.

Iowa

While Iowa does not have any HOA-level restrictions, Law Chapter 564A outlines how residents can apply for solar easements.

Kansas

Kansas does not have any solar access laws, but property owners may create solar easements as per statute 58-3801.

Kentucky

Kentucky established solar easement laws in 1982, but the state has not codified any HOA restrictions.

Louisiana

Enacted in HB 751, Louisiana’s solar access law “prohibits any person or entity from unreasonably restricting the right of a property owner to install or use a solar collector.”

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Maine

Established in 2009, Maine’s Solar Rights give locals the “right to install and use solar energy devices” with prohibition only possible in the event of reasonable restrictions such as public safety and building damage.

Maryland

Maryland Real Property Code §2–119 prohibits HOAs from establishing restrictions or conditions for solar installations that “significantly increase the cost of a solar system, and/or significantly decrease the system’s efficiency.”

Massachusetts

Massachusetts law Chapter 40A states that “no zoning ordinance or by-law shall prohibit or unreasonably regulate the installation of solar energy systems or the building of structures that facilitate the collection of solar energy, except where necessary to protect the public health, safety or welfare.“

Michigan

Although a bill was introduced in 2022 to enact solar access laws in Michigan, there are currently no HOA or solar easement guidelines in the state.

Minnesota

There are no solar access laws in Minnesota, however, MN law 500.30 allows residents to create solar easements, and bills have been introduced and proposed to block HOA restrictions on solar energy statewide.

Mississippi

There are no solar access or easement laws in Mississippi.

Missouri

HOAs “may adopt reasonable rules regarding the placement of solar panels or solar collectors to the extent those rules do not prevent the installation of the device or adversely affect its functioning, use, cost, or efficiency” as per Missouri Senate Bill 820.

Montata

There are no solar access laws in Montana, though residents can create solar easements.

Nebraska

Despite proposed bills in the past, there are currently no solar access laws in Nebraska that apply to an HOA’s power.

Nevada

“A governing body shall not adopt an ordinance, regulation or plan or take any other action that prohibits or unreasonably restricts or has the effect of prohibiting or unreasonably restricting the owner of real property from using a system for obtaining solar energy on his or her property” as per Nevada's Solar Easement and Rights Law.

New Hampshire

Although New Hampshire has detailed solar easement laws and efforts have been made to put access laws in place, there are currently no restrictions on HOAs' power to prevent a PV installation in the Granite State.

New Jersey

New Jersey implemented its first statewide solar access and solar easement laws in 2017. The current law limits the authority of HOAs to prohibit solar installations, restricting any “covenant, bylaw, rule or regulation prohibiting the installation of solar collectors” on a property owned by an individual and not the community.

New Mexico

New Mexico’s Solar Rights Act protects residents' access to solar as a “property right,” voiding covenants and restrictions from preventing reasonable PV installations.

New York

“A homeowners' association may not adopt or enforce any rules or regulations that would effectively prohibit, or impose unreasonable limitations on, the installation or use of a solar power system” as per NY Senate Bill S4742A.

North Carolina

Established in 2007, North Carolina's Senate Bill 670 created NC solar access laws enforcing that “​​no city ordinance shall prohibit, or have the effect of prohibiting, the installation of a solar collector that gathers solar radiation as a substitute for traditional energy for water heating, active space heating and cooling, passive heating, or generating electricity for a detached single-family residence” with a few unique exceptions.

North Dakota

While North Dakota solar easement laws allow state residents to create easements, there are no HOA access regulations in place.

Ohio

Effective in 2022, Senate Bill 61 codified solar access laws in Ohio, preventing HOAs from barring PV installations altogether, while allowing “reasonable restrictions concerning the size, place, and manner of placement of solar energy collection devices.”

Oklahoma

There are no residential solar access laws in Oklahoma.

Oregon

Oregon law states that attempts to prohibit solar access are “void and unenforceable as a violation of the public policy to protect the public health, safety, and welfare of the people of Oregon.” Like many other states, the statute  (94.778 - Prohibition against installation of solar panels void and unenforceable) also includes the provision that HOAs may impose “reasonable size, placement or aesthetic requirements.”

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania does not have any solar access laws.

Rhode Island

Although Rhode Island residents can create solar easements, there are no statewide solar access laws that HOAs must follow.

South Carolina

There are no solar access laws that restrict HOA power in South Carolina.

South Dakota

South Dakotans can establish solar easements, but there are not any access laws in place statewide.

Tennessee

Tennessee does not have any laws rewarding HOA restrictions to prevent solar access, however, the state does allow residents to create solar easements.

Texas

Barring exceptions such as threats to public safety, Texas Property Code 202.010 states that “a property owners ’ association may not include or enforce a provision in a dedicatory instrument that prohibits or restricts a property owner from installing a solar energy device.”

Utah

Utah Solar Access Code outlines the reasonable restrictions HOAs can place on solar panel systems, including specific language that relates to standalone homes and property owners of a “dwelling attached to other dwellings.”

Vermont

Established in 2009, Vermont State Law § 544 enforces that “No deed restrictions, covenants, or similar binding agreements running with the land shall prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting solar collectors, clotheslines, or other energy devices based on renewable resources from being installed on buildings erected on the lots or parcels covered by the deed restrictions, covenants, or binding agreements.”

Virginia

Taking several forms since the policy was originally enacted in 2008, Virginia Law § 55.1-1820.1 states that “no association shall prohibit an owner from installing a solar energy collection device on that owner's property unless the recorded declaration for the association establishes such a prohibition.“

Washington

RCW 64.38.055, commonly referred to as the Washington Solar Rights Law, prohibits HOAs from blocking solar panel installations that meet “applicable health and safety standards and requirements imposed by state and local permitting authorities.”

West Virginia

WV Code § 36-4-19 protects access rights, noting any HOA covenant, restriction, or condition “that effectively prohibits or restricts the installation or use of a solar energy system is void and unenforceable.”

Wisconsin

Wisconsin law 236.292 states that “​​All restrictions on platted land that prevent or unduly restrict the construction and operation of solar energy systems” are void, including those enforced by HOAs and deed restrictions.

Wyoming

Although there are no specific solar access laws in the Cowboy State, the Wyoming Solar Rights Act (Chapter 22) defines solar rights as “property rights” that cannot be denied within reason by local governments.

Washington, D.C.

Washington DC’s solar access laws are found in the District of Columbia Code § 8–1774.51, which limits the “authority of homeowners associations, condominium owners associations, and cooperative housing associations to prohibit the installation and use of solar energy collection devices.

US Territories

Solar access laws prevent HOA restrictions in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Palmetto is here to help you access solar!

When applicable, working with your homeowner’s association or property owner’s association may be a vital step of the solar installation process. Helping homeowners install panels all over the United States, Palmetto is here to help you exercise your solar access rights, save money, and reduce your carbon footprint with a high-quality renewable energy system.

To learn more about your access rights and whether or not your property is suitable for solar panels, reach out to one of our experts directly and speak with a Solar Advisor today.

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About the AuthorBrian ChurchWriter

Brian is a writer, NABCEP PV associate and outdoor enthusiast living in Denver, Colorado. As a freelancer, Brian has written hundreds of articles to help individuals, businesses and our planet benefit from solar power and sustainable energy systems.

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