Big Helps and A Major Hindrance to Solar Expansion in Minnesota

solar expansion in minnesota

The MRES is committed to promoting all types of renewable energy initiatives, including the production of solar power.

Minnesota is among the 13 states with access to $56 million in funding for solar expansion over the next three years, sponsored by the Federal Energy Department. There are other entities trying to advance solar expansion in Minnesota, as well, such as the Minnesota Renewable Energy Society (MRES). Amidst all of this good news about the support of clean energy, there are homeowners’ associations (HOAs) in Minnesota which frequently put the brakes on the installation of solar panels. But it is not just solar expansion in Minnesota being affected, Unfortunately, homeowners across the U.S.A. face the same roadblock to being more energy efficient.

There are many good reasons why millions of dollars are poured into promoting solar expansion, as in the case of the Federal support currently aimed at benefiting Minnesota. Some of these reasons include:
• Power companies which run on fossil fuel make a significant contribution to the pollution problem.
• Air is cleaner when we use renewable energy sources.
• Domestic fuel sources are quickly being depleted.

The Minnesota Renewable Energy Society (MRES) is a non-profit organization run by members. The goal of MRES is to engage in advocacy for renewable energy sources such as solar power in Minnesota. They are involved in educating the public, raising awareness about the benefits of renewable energy, and actively supporting all sources of renewable energy. MRES places particular emphasis on solar technology.

People in Minnesota have access to equipment discounts, utility rebates, federal tax credits, and other incentives for switching to solar energy. There is actually a lot of activity which encourages citizens to invest in solar panels in order to tap into the renewable energy supply provided by the sun.

And then there are homeowners’ associations which stop people from installing solar panels because the equipment isn’t aesthetically pleasing enough for neighborhood standards.

HOAs are legal entities formed basically for the purpose of enforcing deed restrictions designed to maintain certain standards of property quality and value. The majority of home buyers anywhere in the U.S.A. will come under the legal authority of a homeowners’ association.

Solar Expansion in Minnesota

Our NASS member store, located in Duluth, encourages and promotes widespread solar expansion in Minnesota.

A homeowner in Woodbury, Minnesota, who sought permission to install solar panels on his roof learned last month that his application was rejected by the HOA. The president of the HOA in this instance said that solar shingles were permissible but that solar panels aren’t aesthetically pleasing enough for community standards. And so it would seem that the importance of switching to clean energy doesn’t override the importance of keeping up appearances.

Although Minnesota is not one of them, some states have laws which override HOAs and grant all homeowners solar access, though installation guidelines are typically left under the control of the HOAs.

In recent news, homeowners in some states covered by such state laws are experiencing problems with their HOAs. In fact, these HOA issues have come up in the top two solar-friendly states. A California man’s efforts to go solar were rejected by his HOA. And in New Jersey, a homeowner was compelled by his HOA to remove 28 solar panels.

And so in Minnesota and other states, as well, the conflicting battle to encourage the use of solar panels meets with resistance from HOAs. Perhaps this hindrance will be removed because of a federal law which the House of Representatives has passed called The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (H.R. 2454). The law has not passed the Senate. But if it did, all Americans would gain the right to install solar panels in spite of HOA restrictions, effectively removing a major roadblock to increasing solar usage.

Share Button