Under Civil Code Section 714, a Homeowners Associations in California can legally restrict an owner’s installation and use of solar energy systems – so long as the restrictions do not significantly increase the cost of the system or significantly decrease its specified performance or efficiency. Until December 31st of 2014, “Significantly” was defined as increasing the costs of the system by 20% or decreasing the efficiency of the system by 20%.
AB 2188, which became effective January 1, 2015, redefines what reasonable restrictions an Association is allowed to require and, in doing so, amends Civil Code Section 714.
Most importantly, the new law reduced an HOA’s ability to restrict solar energy systems installed by members in half.
A significant increase in the costs of a system is now anything north of 10%, and a significant decrease will now mean a reduction in the efficiency of the system by 10%.
The result – HOAs must now be even more careful with the conditions and/or limitations it places on owners who wants to install solar energy systems.
The new law also calls for a reduction in the time frame an association has to approve or deny an application for the installation of solar systems. Before, the law stated that if an application is not denied in writing within 60 days of the submission by the member, the application will be deemed automatically approved. Now, the time period has been reduced to 45 days. As a result, HOAs must be even more diligent in their review and consideration of applications for new solar energy systems.
Be sure to keep these changes in mind the next time an owner in your association is considering the installation of a solar energy system!