I haven’t written about this in a while, so for detailed background, you can get up-to-speed by reading this, this, this, this, this,and finally, this. For those that want a quick catch-me-up, here we go:
We built a new house in 2013, mentioning several times to the salesperson and construction manager, that we planned on putting up solar panels.
We were told the Homeowner’s Association has established rules for solar panels, which we downloaded and read. The HOA rules exactly matched the state statute (good!).
We applied to the HOA, per the required steps, our solar panel system design and our request was denied. I explained to the HOA President that, once the neighborhood was no longer under development, we would be able to get our panels, if our immediate neighbors (5 residences) had no objections. He said he’d resubmit our application. It was rejected a second time.
I received an email today, from a solar energy advocate, stating,
“I just wanted to let you know that bill SB 1626 (the consolidated bill with HB 3539) was signed by the governor yesterday. The amended law goes into effect Sept 1, 2015. Going forward, the loophole to block solar will only exist for developments with fewer than 51 planned residential units.
Information about the bill can be found below.
Texas Legislature Online
84(R) SB 1626
Relating to the regulation by a developer of the installation of solar energy devices in a residential subdivision.
5/23/2015 E Signed by the Governor”
The new law, tightens the loophole that has prevented us from getting our solar energy system, specifically this line:
“(f) During the development period, the declarant may prohibit or restrict a property owner from installing a solar energy device.“
In other words, a developer, currently developing a neighborhood, can deny an application for solar panels. Our neighborhood has about 8 lots left to be sold, before our neighborhood is finished with its development.
But there’s more!
A new “phase” of the neighborhood has begun development. The homes are different models than ours and the layout is more dense with greenbelts. I have been agonizing over this development. Does this new “phase” constitute the continued development of our neighborhood, further delaying completion of the neighborhood, and consequently, delaying our solar panel system even longer?
The email I received and the text of the new law would seem to resolve the issue:Our neighborhood has well over 50 lots and the addition of a new “phase” only serves to increase that number. Now it appears all we have to do is wait for September 1st to proceed, unless the HOA generously allows us to move forward, during the high sunshine months.
I hate to be at odds with members of our neighborhood over this issue, but we have had the intention of adding panels to our new home before construction was ever begun, and made those intentions known to the developer. I’ll keep you posted on developments…