NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Solar Junk

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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