For many people, buying a house in a homeowners’ association (HOA) is a good way to protect their property value. However, in order to preserve property value, HOAs can also place wide-ranging restrictions on homeowners who want to make upgrades and renovations to their houses. Case in point: installing rooftop solar panels.
Solar panel access laws vary from state to state, which means there’s a piecemeal framework for how restrictive HOAs can be when it comes to energy independence. For instance, California passed the Solar Rights Act in 1978, limiting HOAs from disallowing rooftop solar panels on homes. However, other states don’t have any laws on the books to prevent HOAs from incorporating strict limitations in their bylaws to stop homeowners from installing rooftop solar panels. Texas was one of these places without consumer protections, but a recent new law has changed that.
Texas enacts SB 398 to strengthen consumer energy protections
On Sept.1, 2021, Senate Bill 398 (SB 398) went into effect in Texas, which greatly enhances consumer protections for homeowners seeking to achieve energy independence. Prior to the passage of the bill, Texans had limited rights under the state’s solar panel access laws. Now, SB 398 prohibits municipalities and HOA boards from unreasonably restricting homeowners’ energy independence.
This is a big deal for residential solar installers in the Lone Star State. For HOAs alone, Texas has 21,000 associations, accounting for an estimated 2.05 million homes, according to iPropertyManagement. This means about 33.2% of Texas homeowners belong to an HOA. While not every HOA might have prohibited the installation of rooftop solar panels, enough of these associations did have restrictions in their bylaws that necessitated the passage of SB 398. Additionally, the new law only prohibits “unreasonably” restricting energy independence, and that might empower some HOAs to continue banning rooftop solar panels.
For now though, the passage of SB 398 provides a host of new opportunities for residential installers and contractors interested in getting involved in the solar market. With Texas homeowners increasingly looking to harden their homes against extreme weather impacts, easing the means for them to install rooftop PV systems can greatly expand the Texas market for rooftop solar and battery backups.
Small, reliable panels that pack a big punch
Homeowners seeking energy independence with rooftop solar need panels that are reliable, but also provide significant value for their home.
Now, residential solar installers have access to Trina Solar’s new 410W Vertex S series - modules that deliver the reliable and high-powered renewable energy option homeowners have been looking for. Utilizing the latest in innovative 210mm technology, the Vertex S series is the first 410W module designed for residential use, giving homeowners higher energy output than legacy modules. Together with the TrinaProtect 25-year product and performance warranty program available in the U.S., Texan homeowners have a whole new reason to be excited about using rooftop solar to gain true energy independence.
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