A South Carolina solar bill that was signed into law by Governor Henry McMaster in May this year might have impacts on your homeowners association by increasing the number of property owners looking to install some sort of solar technology on their property. Since most HOAs have architectural approval procedures for changes to properties, that means that more and more solar applications are going to be submitted for approval.
Solar panels, solar shingles, and other solar collectors are increasingly popular options in homeowners associations. It is no secret that our country, our states, and our local governments are all looking for new and better ways to provide energy. With the trend toward smarter and greener technology and ways of providing that energy many states have enacted legislation that opens the door for solar technologies. For an example of another state’s current law, read my earlier post on North Carolina’s solar laws and how they apply to HOAs in that state.
South Carolina got into the solar game in 2014 when the SC Legislature first allowed net metering. Net metering is designed to credit solar energy system owners for energy they produce. So, their power bill is offset by whatever energy their system produces, and, if their system produces more than the home’s need then any “leftover” power is exported to the power grid.
The 2014 legislation had created artificial caps on how much power could be generated through solar collectors. In May, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster signed a law that eliminated much of these artificial barriers and extended credits for net metering at least to 2021. This move was no surprise for those familiar with South Carolina’s recent nuclear power debacle.
What does this mean for your HOA?
It means that if you serve on the board of directors or the architectural committee, you can expect to see increasing numbers of applications to install some kind of solar technology. In South Carolina there is no current state law that restricts an HOA’s ability to regulate placement or even to simply deny installation of solar technologies. While that may be the case now, the trend in most states has been to create some sort of limits on a homeowners association’s ability to deny installation. I’ve worked with numerous communities who are looking to be proactive in their approach to solar technologies. Whether your HOA wants to look into adopting a solar policy or just has questions about solar installations, contact a community association attorney in one of our Charlotte, Greensboro, Triangle, or Coastal offices today to find out how we can help.