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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Oregon State Law 105.880 Guarantees Your Solar Rights

In early 2009 my wife and I decided that we wanted to start moving towards the use of renewable energy. These days there are more and more motivations to take renewable seriously. At the time our biggest motivation was to support the use of clean, renewable energy. So, after attending the Solar Expo in Portland in May I found a solar installer and started moving towards the installation of a 3000 watt solar photo voltaic installation. Since our HOA (Creekside in Salem) requires approval for all home modification projects I submitted the plan to the HOA for approval. Much to my surprise the HOA said, "no, the CC&Rs don't allow solar panels".
After some research, I found that HOAs all over give homeowners push-back on solar installations. However, there are many states (OR, CA, CO, AZ, FL and others) have solar rights laws that say that Home Owner Associations cannot outlaw solar power installations. Oregon's solar rights law ORS 105.880, was enacted in 1979 during the first oil crisis when it first became clear that solar power needed to be encouraged. After, pointing ORS 105.880 out to my HOA board they finally agreed that they could not ban solar installations but they did have the power to establish guidelines to guide the installation of solar systems. They are currently in the process of establishing solar power installation guidelines. The important message from this experience is that in Oregon your HOA cannot stop you from installing solar panels on your home. Apparently, ORS 105.880 has not been tested in the courts but the prevailing legal opinion is that this law is valid and enforceable. I have anecdotal evidence that this same situation that occurred in my case has happen to other people in Oregon. That is, HOAs try to stop solar but end up reconsidering when they are made aware of ORS 105.880.

3 comments:

  1. The statute, by its own language, applies to CONVEYANCES, not to HOA CC&Rs and By-Laws. The statute forbids only a SELLER from prohibiting solar panels. It says nothing about whether HOAs can do so.

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    Replies
    1. The Creekside HOA's legal council thought it applied to HOAs and that's all that counts. They backed down and changed their CC&Rs. Case closed.

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