CvilleREA, Sigora Solar, and Partners Deliver Win For Local Homeowners
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 24, 2020
The Charlottesville Renewable Energy Alliance (CvilleREA) and Sigora Solar helped deliver a major win for homeowners in Powhatan in a long running battle with their neighborhood homeowners association. Sigora Solar began the installation of an 18kw system Monday that will reduce the Desmet family’s electricity bill by as much as 94% and save them over $55,000 over the next 25 years.
Dina and Dave Desmet’s initial application to install solar panels on their home was denied as their homeowner’s association sought to change the neighborhood bylaws on solar in violation of Virginia law. Working together, Sigora Solar, Local Energy Alliance Program, CvilleREA, and the law firm of ReisingerGooch, were successfully able to get the Desmet’s HOA application approved and pave the way for more solar access in Virginia.
Under Virginia law, HOAs may impose "reasonable" restrictions on rooftop solar systems, but cannot impose unreasonable restrictions or bar installations outright (except through recorded covenants, which typically do not address rooftop solar). The Desmet's were aided by a recently released report explaining the laws surrounding rooftop solar, the limits of the restrictions which HOAs can impose, the benefits rooftop solar can provide to both homeowners and neighborhoods, as well as what homeowners’ rights are and how the attorneys at ReisingerGooch can help them.
“Virginia’s law is crystal clear—homeowners have the right to install solar panels on their roofs,” said Matt Gooch, partner at ReisingerGooch. “Right now, too many HOAs are trying to restrict that right in ways that are unreasonable and cause financial harm to the homeowner. We’re happy to partner with LEAP to help homeowners assert their rights under the law and get their solar installed.”
The Desmet’s battle was first chronicled by CBS6 in Richmond, Virginia. After this news story and a collaborative effort by LEAP, CvilleREA, ReisingerGooch, and Sigora, the HOA relented and approved the installation.
“We are just thrilled to finally get to this day,” said Dina Desmet. “We can’t thank everyone enough for helping us go solar. It was a long fight, but hopefully our case puts other HOAs on notice that they can’t stop residents from installing solar.”
Founded in 2017, the Charlottesville Renewable Energy Alliance (CvilleREA) enables the growth and success of the local renewable energy industry through collaboration, community, and economic development.
About Sigora Solar
Sigora Solar is the largest residential and commercial solar integrator in Virginia, with more than 40% of the Commonwealth’s installed distributed generation capacity. Sigora’s unique Produce+Reduce package provides solar and energy efficiency services paired with a PEARL certification to monetize those upgrades. Sigora’s One-For-One program expands energy equity, providing households in Haiti access to electricity through Sigora Haiti. Sigora now operates in 11 states, establishing itself as a top 30 residential solar company in the Country. Sigora’s mission is to empower people and communities to take charge of their energy and build a more sustainable and equitable energy future.
Katie VanLangen, Executive Director, , 201-506-7377
Matthew Gooch, Partner, ReisingerGooch, PLC, , (804) 523-0737
Erin Morgan, Marketing and Outreach Manager, Local Energy Alliance Program, erin@leap- va.org, (540) 407-2412