Key Considerations for HOAs Before Greenlighting Roofing Projects

Key Considerations for HOAs Before Greenlighting Roofing Projects

Key Considerations for HOAs Before Greenlighting Roofing Projects

As solar panel installations become more popular in residential communities, homeowners' associations must adapt their policies and guidelines to accommodate this green energy trend. 

Here are some key considerations for HOAs before approving any roofing project, including those involving solar panels.

Understanding Legal Limitations

The American Clean Energy and Security Act Implications

First and foremost, HOAs need to recognize that, under the American Clean Energy and Security Act, they generally cannot prohibit the installation of solar panels. This federal law sets a precedent that encourages the adoption of renewable energy sources.

Legal Aspects:

  • Federal Regulations: Understand the extent of restrictions allowed under federal law.

  • State Laws: Be aware of additional state-specific solar panel installation laws.

Evaluating Permit and Design Requirements

Ensuring Safe and Aesthetic Installations

If a roofing company has made it to the permit stage, there shouldn't be any doubt as to whether they're pulling the proper permits. Still, you'll want to make sure the paperwork is on record. If your HOA documents require specific roof design, that should also be taken care of in this early stage, with a few other checklist requirements, like choosing the required colors, shapes, and angles of the panels.


  • Permit Verification: Ensure all contractors have the necessary permits for installation.

  • Design Guidelines: Establish clear design guidelines that align with the community's aesthetic.

Assessing Condominium Associations' Rights

Exterior Ownership and Solar Panel Restrictions

In condominium associations, the scenario can be different. If the condominium association owns the exterior of the buildings, there might be more leeway to restrict solar panel locations. Careful consideration is required when discussing using shared space or common elements when homeowners may disagree. 

Key Points:

  • Ownership and Control: Understand the extent of the association's control over exterior spaces.

  • Community Impact: Consider the potential impact of these restrictions on individual owners and the community.

Reviewing Property Appearance Guidelines

Aligning Solar Installations with Community Standards

Before approving solar panel installations, HOAs should review existing guidelines regarding property appearances. Ensuring that these installations align with the community's overall aesthetic and standards is important.

Policy Development:

  • Existing Guidelines: Review and consider how solar panels fit within current appearance guidelines.

  • Policy Creation: Develop clear policies based on these guidelines to manage solar panel installations.

Creating Clear Policies for Roofing Projects

Establishing a Framework for Approvals

HOAs must create and communicate clear policies regarding roofing projects, especially those involving solar panels. This clarity will aid in smoother decision-making and help in maintaining the community's aesthetic integrity.

Policy Framework:

  • Approval Process: Outline a transparent process for reviewing and approving roofing projects.

  • Communication with Residents: Ensure that residents are aware of these policies and understand the approval process.

In summary, while embracing green energy trends like solar panel installation, HOAs must balance legal compliance with maintaining their communities' aesthetic and structural integrity. 

By understanding legal limitations, evaluating permits and design requirements, assessing condominium associations' rights, reviewing property appearance guidelines, and creating clear policies, HOAs can effectively manage roofing projects in their communities.

Sam Maropis

PMI Profit Realty