March 12, 2004
Homeowners' associations are creating obstacles for those who install solar panels on homes in their neighborhoods. The panels have been deemed unsightly by many residents; however, they are becoming increasingly common in Sunbelt states such as Florida and Arizona.
- Solar energy production has increased 10-fold since 1993, mainly due to advanced technology and tax incentives that has made it cheaper for homeowners.
- In California, where solar energy usage has become most common, some 20 homeowners' associations have laws in place making it harder to install solar panels.
- A retired homeowner in Arizona spent $100,000 in lawsuits and fines against his homeowners' association, in spite of a state judge ruling in favor of his right to install solar panels.
Ironically, most residents favor the use as solar power as a clean, alternative energy source. However, in spite of aesthetic improvements by manufacturers -- such as panels that match roof tiles and colors in order to blend better -- many neighborhood homeowners' associations still harbor the "not in my backyard" attitude, saying that solar panels are simply ugly.
Source: Jim Carlton, "People Favor Solar Power -- but Not in Their Neighborhood," Wall Street Journal, February 25, 2004.
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