The law is clear in Florida. A homeowner association cannot prevent you from installing solar energy products. This is governed by Section 163.04, Florida Statutes. You have a right to obtain energy from renewable resources on your property
Condo associations similarly cannot prevent you from installing solar energy products on your property. Unfortunately, the roof of a condo and the areas outside your walls are rarely considered your property.
Courts have upheld this law in favor of homeowners to a great extent. The law event extends to clotheslines that use the sun and wind to dry clothing, again, as long as it is on your property. The railing of your porch is not generally considered your property.
Homeowner associations can tell you where to put solar panels as long as it does not impede the function of the panels. Typically you will want your panels to be on the south side of your home, and there is little a homeowner association can do to stop you.
Most homeowners want to maintain a good relationship with their association, management company, and neighbors. What I do to help smooth things out is prepare a 3D model of the home on a Google Earth map to show the association board of directors how the finished product will look. Our solar advisers discuss options with the homeowner and quantify the effects of suboptimal panel placement on roof faces. In just about every case we can come to a suitable resolution that makes all parties happy.
If push comes to shove, a strongly worded letter citing Florida Statute 163.04 is the ace up our sleeve.
If your homeowner association is giving you a hard time about installing solar panels on your Florida home, let me know!
Here is the full text of FS 163.04:
Energy devices based on renewable resources.-
(1) Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter or other provision of general or special law, the adoption of an ordinance by a governing body, as those terms are defined in this chapter, which prohibits or has the effect of prohibiting the installation of solar collectors, clotheslines, or other energy devices based on renewable resources is expressly prohibited.
(2) 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. A property owner may not be denied permission to install solar collectors or other energy devices based on renewable resources by any entity granted the power or right in any deed restriction, covenant, or similar binding agreement to approve, forbid, control, or direct alteration of property with respect to residential dwellings not exceeding three stories in height. For purposes of this subsection, 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 provided that such determination does not impair the effective operation of the solar collectors.
(3) In any litigation arising under the provisions of this section, the prevailing party shall be entitled to costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.
(4) The legislative intent in enacting these provisions is to protect the public health, safety, and welfare by encouraging the development and use of renewable resources in order to conserve and protect the value of land, buildings, and resources by preventing the adoption of measures which will have the ultimate effect, however unintended, of driving the costs of owning and operating commercial or residential property beyond the capacity of private owners to maintain. This section shall not apply to patio railings in condominiums, cooperatives, or apartments.
History.-s. 8, ch. 80-163; s. 1, ch. 92-89; s. 14, ch. 93-249.