Virginia Energy Advocates Launch New Rooftop Solar Legal Initiative
12.19.19 | A Virginia nonprofit group and a Virginia law firm today announced a campaign to help homeowners in the Commonwealth install rooftop solar, even when such installations are opposed by homeowner associations (HOAs).
The Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP) and the law firm ReisingerGooch, PLC will provide free and confidential legal advice to eligible homeowners who want rooftop solar but are encountering resistance from their HOAs. The program’s goal is to ensure that all Virginia homeowners can install rooftop solar if they so choose. Rooftop solar has the potential to provide enormous benefits to homeowners, including, but not limited to, lower power bills and increased home values.
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).
As a part of the initiative, LEAP and ReisingerGooch have launched a website, complete with an report that explains 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.”
“As I try to help install rooftop solar, I am constantly encountering Homeowner Associations that want to restrict or outright bar rooftop solar for frivolous aesthetic reasons, or for reasons that simply aren’t based in fact,” said Jennifer Sloop, HOA Supervisor for Sigora Solar. “The end result is that fewer Virginia homeowners are able to lower their power bills and reduce their carbon footprints, and fewer Virginians get put to work installing rooftop solar panels. I’m grateful for the work LEAP and its partners are doing to help empower homeowners to exercise their rights, and look forward to helping more homeowners go solar.”
“Rooftop solar is good for Virginia homeowners, good for Virginia’s economy, and good for Virginia’s environment,” said Chris Meyer, Executive Director of LEAP. “Homeowners who want to do their part to combat climate change or just lower their electricity bills should be able to do that without their HOA or anyone else standing in the way. We’re happy to be partnering with ReisingerGooch to provide homeowners with the guidance and assistance they need to do just that.”