This Ohio bill will expand rooftop solar by limiting HOA restrictions

Ohio

The Ohio Senate passed Senate Bill 61 (SB 61), which would make it easier for homeowners who live in homeowner associations and condo associations to install solar on their roofs. Now, the bill moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

“If you own your roof, you should have the right to install solar on it,” said Tristan Rader, Ohio Solar United Neighbors Program Director. “We believe that people should have that basic freedom to decide their energy source. As thousands of homeowners across the state have found, solar is a safe, affordable and reliable way to power homes. We want to make sure everyone has the same access.”

Currently, Ohio law allows homeowners associations (HOAs) to restrict the ability of homeowners to go solar. This can make going solar more expensive and stop homeowners from going solar at all. SB 61 aims to fix that, doing away with unreasonable restrictions on solar within homeowners associations.

“The American Dream is often synonymous with the idea of homeownership,” said Steven Mastrantonio, a homeowner in Akron prohibited from installing solar by his HOA. “But curtailing the benefits of homeownership is the restriction to the right to control the ability to power your home.”

Another homeowner in a Columbus area HOA, Michael Schaal, had to collect 137 signatures to get his HOA to consider his application. For comparison, it takes 50 signatures to run for congress in Ohio.

“We were eventually able to reapply to the HOA and get approval for a solar panel system. However, the entire process took over a year,” Schaal said. “Yes, we were ultimately able to get solar on our home, but it was not without having to spend considerable time and resources on a process that, in my mind, should have been very straightforward.”

Solar advocates aren’t the only ones backing this bill. The Community Associations Institute (CAI), a national organization that works to better community associations, supports SB 61. Also supporting the bill are Ohio Environmental Council Fund, the Conservative Energy Forum, and other non-profit solar installers, trade groups, and homeowners.

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