Shedding Some Light on Condo Solar Panels

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L.S. from Tolland County writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

What is the legality on solar panels for condominiums and their by-laws?

Mister Condo replies:

L.S., as you know, I am not an attorney so I cannot offer any legal advice in this column. For a legal opinion, kindly consult with a qualified attorney in your area. As far as I know, condominiums in our state are free to adopt their own policies on solar panels and whether or not to allow or disallow their installation by individual unit owners within the association. The real issue here is architectural conformity and the long-term maintenance of the solar panels. If Unit Owner A get them and Unit Owner B doesn’t get them, their condo roof starts looking irregular and can become a real eyesore. If a unit owner who has installed solar panels sells his unit and the new unit owner doesn’t properly maintain the panels, you have a whole other problem. Also, there can be issues with metering and submetering of individual units with regards to their personal consumption of electricity. For these and other reasons, it is not uncommon for a condo association Board to simply disallow solar panel installation. That being said, states like California, Colorado, and Hawaii have laws that actually prevent an association from banning solar panels. Can Connecticut be far behind? Only time will tell, L.S. Thanks for the question!

2 thoughts on “Shedding Some Light on Condo Solar Panels

  1. A couple of other big issues, in my understanding.
    — The roofs belong to the Association and the Association is normally on the hook when they leak or need to be replaced, yet the solar needs to be removed for the roof replacement and might be the cause of leaks.
    – Like many condos we have many roofs on common buildings and garages that would be great for solar, yet those buildings use little electricity. In my understanding, most deals from the State that let homeowners get free electricity with the excess going to the company do not cover condos and would not be much benefit with low electricity use for those buildings and their meters.
    – Optimum would be similar deals to those available to homeowners that let the costs, liabilities, and similar benefits all flow to the common funds of the association.

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