solar

The Utah Community Association Act limits how an HOA may restrict the installation of solar energy systems by homeowners.

Prohibiting Solar 

Attached Homes.  There is no limitation on if and how a declaration prohibits installation of solar for attached homes.  Other governing documents, such as rules and architectural guidelines, may not prohibit installation of solar.fn1

Detached Homes.  There is no limitation on if and how a declaration prohibits installation of solar for detached homes, except that adopting an amendment to the declaration in order to prohibit solar, or adopting a change to a prohibition on solar in a declaration recorded after January 1, 2017, requires approval of more than 67% of the owners.  Other governing documents, such as rules and architectural guidelines, may not prohibit installation of solar.fn1

Restricting Solar

Attached Homes.  There is no limitation on how a declaration (CC&Rs) or the rules may restrict installation of solar on attached dwellings.fn2

Detached Homes.  For detached dwellings (commonly called single family homes), there is no limitation on solar restrictions contained in either (1) rules adopted before January 1, 2017, or (2) a declaration (CC&Rs) recorded before January 1, 2017.  Otherwise, the declaration or rules may restrict the size, location, or manner of placement, if the restriction:

(1) doesn't decrease its production by more than 5%,
(2) doesn't increase its cost of installation by more than 5%, and
(3) complies with the following:

A.  The CC&Rs or a rule may require the owner:

  1.  to install a system that, or in a manner that:
    • complies with applicable health, safety, and building requirements,
    • complies with safety and performance standards established by NEC, IEEE, UL, etc.
    • if mounted on a roof, doesn’t extend above roof line, or has panel frame, support bracket, or visible piping or wiring that has a color or texture that is similar to the roof material, or
    • if the solar energy system is mounted on the ground, is not visible from the street that a lot fronts.

        ii.  to pay costs incurred by the association to review an application to install,

        iii.  be responsible, jointly and severally with any subsequent owner, for any expense incurred by the association to enforce its restrictions, or

        iv.  to record a restriction against the lot that requires the current owner of the lot to indemnify or reimburse the association and its member for any loss or damage caused by the installation, maintenance, or use of the solar energy system, including costs and attorney fees.

FN 1.  Rules, architectural guidelines and other governing documents except the declaration, may NOT prohibit installation of solar on:

  • a detached dwelling lot,
  • an attached dwelling if:
    • the HOA doesn’t own the dwelling AND maintain the roof or building exterior, and
    • if all owners in the building agree to the installation.

FN 2.   Bylaws, articles of incorporation and other governing documents except the declaration and rules, may NOT restrict installation of solar on:

  • a detached dwelling lot,
  • an attached dwelling if:
    • the HOA doesn’t own the dwelling AND maintain the roof or building exterior, and
    • if all owners in the building agree to the installation. 

Statutes and Cases:

(For reference: 57-8 is the Condo Act, 57-8a is the Community Association Act, 16-6a is the Nonprofit Act)

57-8a-102. Definitions
57-8a-701. Solar energy system -- Prohibition or restriction in declaration or association rule
57-8a-702. Attorney fees
57-8a-703. Applicability