Homeowners Associations: Enemies of the Future

Want to install solar panels on your house? Congratulations, but you may have to check with your neighbors first. From USA Today:
As homeowners increasingly seek to turn to green practices such as using clotheslines instead of dryers or moving to solar or wind power, they are finding those plans in conflict with the rules of homeowners associations that encourage conformity in order to maintain property values.

"Homeowners associations are charged with protecting the aesthetic look and feel of the community," said Robert DeNichilo, an Orange County, Calif., attorney who specializes in homeowner association law. "As energy costs rise and solar is becoming more of a viable option, you're seeing more and more associations having to deal with it."

Clearly we have to change this situation. As long as we have lots of people in single-family homes, we should be making the shift to solar easier, not preventing it, even if people disagree about the aesthetics. And wouldn't they increase property values anyway?

Delaware, Maine, Vermont, and Washington have laws on the books to prevent homeowners associations from prohibiting solar panels. There are similar laws in the pipeline in some other states.

Image: Superior CO Solar Panel Install, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from davedugdale's photostream. Used courtesy of