• This blog is maintained by Stephen Filler, a New York-based attorney with expertise in business law, contracts, intellectual property and litigation. He represents a wide variety of businesses, technology, media companies and individuals. He also provides legal and consulting services to sustainable, environmental and renewable energy businesses, non-profit organizations and trade organizations. He is on the board of the New York Solar Energy Industries Association and Secretary of the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater. His business website is www.nylawline.com.

    The Green Counsel consulting website is www.greencounsel.com.

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steve f

Some states have laws that encourage solar by limiting the effect of restricitive covenants on solar devices.

For example, Colorado statute C.R.S. §38-30-168 limits the effect of restrictive covenants on solar energy devices.

"This statute was litigated before the Colorado Court of Appeals in 1985. A homeowner's association filed suit trying to stop a homeowner from violating the association's aesthetics covenants. The homeowner had a rooftop evaporative cooler that was joined together with solar panels. The Court of Appeals decided that the solar panels together with the cooler constituted an integrated solar energy system. It decided that system was protected by the statute.

"While the statute prohibits covenants that restrict or prohibit solar energy devices based solely on aesthetic considerations, it does allow reasonable aesthetic provisions that do not significantly increase the cost of the device. Thus, covenants may require efforts to improve the aesthetics of an installation, as long as such improvements have reasonable/minimal additional cost. But, this issue has not been litigated in Colorado's courts."


steve f

Good NREL study on Building Code impacts:


steve f

Solar access is a property owner’s right to receive a certain amount of
sunlight on their property. Solar Access Protection is a measure to provide
legal protection through solar access ordinances to property owners
investing in solar energy systems.

More info on Solar Access Protection:


steve f

Florida and California have "solar rights laws" that prevent housing associations from creating restrictive covenents:



There has been some litigation on this issue in Florida:


steve f

Good Power Point Presentation from Pace Energy Project on Land Use Barriers to Solar


steve f

Study on Land Use Restrictions and Solar



my HOA is telling me if I don't my panels same color as roof I must remove them! Painting them unreasonably restricts their ability to attract the heat of the sun. All pipes, wires, etc may be painted but the panels themselves @ this point in time work only if they are allowed to remain the their dark, BLACK, color!

darren bailey

i am a student at Aberystwyth university Wales.
i can not believe that there are people out there who are actually that closed minded. is a (supposed) eyesore on a neighbours roof really that much of a problem when compared to issues such as pollution form conventional methods of energy production or radioactivity in nuclear generators? some people do not realise how mush good that little black pannel is doing THIER environment. im not an environmentalist but this is just crazy talk! i would like to thank you people for showing me just how stupid some people can be. Also anybody in disagreement with this is invited to email me at
i would love to hear your views!
darren bailey

Linda Burchfiel

Thank you for your site! I am talking with my VA state senator's office about proposing a law that would override restrictive covenants from HOAs so that homeowners who want to put up solar panels could do so.

I sent her your link, which should help. Most useful to her would be examples of state legislation that have been passed. States in our area would be the best examples, and I think I remember seeing that MD has such legislation. Do you know a website that would show MD's language?

Keep up the good work!


Stephen Filler

Hi Linda,

Thanks for your comments. Here's a link to more information on the Maryland statute


If you find more information on Maryland or on other states with similar laws, please post the information!!

Robin Wallace

I currently live in Prince William County, Virginia and my Homeowners Association prohibits solar panels. I live in a three story townhouse which the panels could not be seen if attached to the roof. Is there a Virginia Law or Statue which I could use forcing the homeowners association to approve my request?


Hi Stephen, here's a link to the VA code regarding HOA's and solar panels. Basically, solar panels cannot be prohibited except for installation in common areas.



Hi Stephen, here's a link to the VA code regarding HOA's and solar panels. Basically, solar panels cannot be prohibited except for installation in common areas.


Galen Rogers

I just read the link to the VA code you provided. It seems to say that HOA's can't restrict them after 07-01-08 but if they were restricted before that date they are still restricted and that the code does not invalidate those restrictions. Am I wrong?


I have applied for HOA permit for solar pv system , I live in a townhome My builder ( Ryland Homes) and HOA ( Tide water Property Management) rejected.
I have appealed that denial with MD state law one week ago, still I did not hear from them.

Maryland state law

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