Bill to Prohibit Unreasonable Restriction of Solar Power Systems Passed by Legislature

Legislation overrides outdated homeowners’ association by-laws

Assemblywoman Sandy Galef’s bill, A.1933/S.02997 (sponsored in the State Senate by Senator Kevin Parker) was passed in the Assembly this week after being passed in the Senate on February 10, and now awaits the Governor’s signature. The bill prohibits homeowners’ associations (HOAs) from unreasonably restricting the installation or use of a rooftop solar power system.

While the state has promoted and incentivized increased use of solar power systems in the recent years, many homeowners are unable to take advantage due to restrictive and out-of-date HOA by-laws.

Under this new legislation, unreasonable restrictions, which include inhibiting the rooftop solar power system from functioning at its intended maximum efficiency and increasing installation or maintenance costs by more than 10%, will be prohibited. HOAs can still deny permission to install a solar power system but must include detailed justification in writing.

“To help meet New York State’s nation leading goal of 70% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2030, the State offers many incentives, such as cost offsets, financing, and tax credits, to encourage homeowners to install solar power systems on their rooftops,” said Assemblywoman Galef. “I am proud to sponsor this legislation that will allow more homeowners in our state to partake in these opportunities and also take action to combat climate change.”

Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters, said, "Solar energy has the capacity to power our future and help us reach our climate change goals. All New Yorkers who can do so should be allowed to install these systems on their rooftops without burdensome or unreasonable rules, whether from local governments or homeowners’ associations. We thank Assemblymember Galef and Senator Parker for their leadership.”

Nina Orville, Executive Director of Sustainable Westchester said, “Sustainable Westchester applauds the passage of this important legislation that ensures that homeowners associations may not prohibit or unduly limit the installation of solar power systems. This is one more critical step to making the benefits of solar energy available to more New Yorkers while helping the state to reach its ambitious clean energy goals and creating more local green jobs.”

Anne Reynolds, Executive Director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York stated, “Congratulations to Assemblywoman Galef on the passage of this bill to allow homeowners to install solar panels! All New Yorkers, even those that live in homeowner associations, should have the freedom to install solar panels on their roofs. New York has ambitious clean energy goals, and more rooftop solar will help achieve them, while reducing the electric bills of the homeowners that choose solar. We applaud this common- sense measure and appreciate the Assembly’s interest in supporting clean electricity.”

Similar legislation has passed in California, Arizona, Florida, and Massachusetts.