Many homeowners are part of Homeowners Associations, or HOAs. They can provide benefits to their members. But they’re also known for wanting to keep a standard appearance for houses in the neighborhood. For that reason, your HOA may not want you to install solar panels, including in Missouri and Kansas.
And while a new law for would-be solar installers in Missouri is supposed to prevent HOAs from banning solar panels, some homeowners are finding that’s not the case.
Keep reading to learn more about solar installation in Missouri and Kansas, HOAs, the laws surrounding solar and HOAs, and more.
Homeowners Associations and Missouri Solar in the News
Last month, the relationship between solar installation and homeowners associations made the news in Missouri. In Parkville — which is just outside Kansas City — one resident has been wanting to install solar panels on her home for more than 17 years. However, her HOA won’t allow her to do so.
While the homeowner realizes that installing solar panels on her Missouri home would cut her electricity bill by more than 75%, her HOA won’t budge.
According to the article by KMBC:
“The HOA ‘asked me to remove a portion of the panels that face the street. Namely, the panels here and over my garage. But that would decrease the efficiency, which is in direct violation of the law.’”
The article goes on:
“‘Senate Bill 820 says no HOA can prohibit a homeowner from having solar,’ [she] said. ‘They could have reasonable guidelines, but they can’t impact the cost or the efficiency.’”
Why Don’t HOAs Want Residents To Install Solar?
With 70,000 homeowner associations in the U.S., representing more than 40 million households, there certainly isn’t one uniform reason that most HOAs seem to be against solar panels.
But as vain as it may sound, many HOAs simply don’t like the look of traditional solar panels. That seems to be the case with the Missouri homeowner in the KMBC article, as she was asked to remove the panels that “face the street.”
While homeowners associations may have many goals, one primary goal is to increase the property value in the community. Anything that is perceived as unsightly — such as “ugly” solar panels — is generally not permitted.
But what HOAs may not know is that solar panels actually increase home values and can provide value to the community as a whole.
What Do the Laws Say About Solar and HOAs in Missouri and Kansas?
The battle between HOAs and their residents is not a new one, even when it comes to solar panel installation. Because homeowners typically have to get permission before making an aesthetic change to their property, residents and HOAs frequently battle it out over different topics. When both sides seem to be at an impasse, it can be helpful to turn toward laws and historical precedent to determine the way forward.
Until recently, there was no Missouri state legislature regarding the rights of homeowners to install solar panels. These “solar access laws,” which had been enacted in other states, meant that HOAs could not prevent residents from installing solar panels.
But in some cases, they may allow HOAs to place “reasonable restrictions” on those solar panels. That may mean being involved in the design process to ensure the HOA agrees with the plan that is proposed.
As of 2023, Missouri’s new Senate Bill 820 — referenced in the KMBC article — came into play. Under Senate Bill 820, HOAs cannot ban homeowners from installing solar panels in Missouri.
However, it does allow HOAs to adopt reasonable rules and regulations regarding the placement of solar panels or solar collectors, to the extent those rules do not prevent the installation of the device or adversely affect its functioning, use, cost, or efficiency.
In the case of the Parkville homeowner, the word “efficiency” is the key hangup. While her HOA believes its requests will not impede her system’s efficiency, she strongly disagrees.
While Senate Bill 820 may help Missouri homeowners install solar, it’s clear that more clarification is needed to ensure that all parties in this situation — and future situations — know exactly what can and can’t be done. Missouri state legislators are already working on drafting updates to the legislature.
Fortunately for Missouri solar installers, the solar access laws are moving in the right direction. But as of right now, Kansas solar customers aren’t quite as lucky.
On the other hand, Kansas does not have any solar access laws enacted at this time. However, as solar begins to gain more traction throughout the U.S., solar access laws may become part of Kansas legislature.
Tips For Discussing Solar With Your HOA
Regardless of the solar laws where you live, you still may be able to install solar panels, even if your HOA isn’t keen on the idea. If your HOA isn’t keen on the idea of letting you install solar panels, don’t think that’s the end of the conversation. Here are just a few of the ways you can make your case.
Make Them Aesthetically Pleasing
There are plenty of examples of solar panels that can blend in perfectly with your home’s roofing. In some cases, they can even enhance your home’s aesthetic appeal.
And these days, solar panels are more innovative than ever. SolarSkin by Sistine Solar is one company that has changed the game when it comes to good-looking solar panels. They offer “the world’s only solar designed to blend in.”
They even have testimonials on their website about happy customers who have successfully used SolarSkins to convince their HOAs to allow them to install solar.
Explain the Benefits
Research shows that home buyers are willing to pay a premium for homes equipped with solar energy systems. A National Association of Realtors report indicates the importance of “green” features during the homebuying process. And it gives us an idea of exactly how much home buyers are willing to pay for a sustainable home and green features.
Homes with solar panel systems sold for an average of 4.1% more when compared to similar non-solar properties in 2018, according to research by Zillow. On a median-valued home, that’s an additional $9,274.
So if your HOA is afraid of property values decreasing, be prepared with what the numbers actually show.
Know the Laws Where You Live
Simply knowing the laws and being prepared for your conversation with your HOA can make a big difference. If you show that you know what you’re talking about — especially if the HOA is unprepared — you may have a stronger case for installing solar.
Kansas and Missouri: Let’s Go Solar
If you are looking for the best Kansas or Missouri solar installation company, look no further than KC Solar. We’re here to answer all your questions about Kansas and Missouri solar incentives, federal tax credits, and more. Allow us to be your local Kansas and Missouri solar panel installation experts.
Once you schedule a no-pressure site visit, our experts will help you understand what solar system specifications would be best for your home or business. We can also help you understand all your options, including the Evergy Solar Program, and our financing options, including $0 down loans.
KC Solar is the only local solar company in Kansas City with KC natives who own and operate the daily activities of the business. We are your Kansas and Missouri Solar Panel experts. And solar panel installation in Kansas and Missouri is our passion.
And be sure to download our Free Solar Panel Buying Guide for more information.