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Solar Rights Act

Eligibility 
Commercial
Industrial
Local Government
Nonprofit
Residential
Schools
State Government
Federal Government
Agricultural
Savings Category 
Solar - Passive
Solar Water Heat
Solar Space Heat
Solar Thermal Electric
Solar Thermal Process Heat
Solar Photovoltaics
Solar Pool Heating
Program Info
Sector Name 
State
State 
California
Program Type 
Solar/Wind Access Policy
Summary 

The Solar Rights Act (CA Civil Code 714), enacted in 1978, bars restrictions by homeowners associations (HOAs) on the installation of solar-energy systems, but originally did not specifically apply to cities, counties, municipalities or other public entities. Subsequent legislation extended these restrictions to all public entities and common interest developments.  These entities are allowed to impose reasonable restrictions on a solar energy system that do not significantly increase the cost of the system or significantly decrease its efficiency or specified performance. 

"Significantly" was not originally defined, but later legislation adopted a specific dollar amount and system efficiency impact that the legislature deemed significant. These figures were amended by AB 2188 in 2014. Currently, entities are allowed to impose reasonable restrictions on a solar energy system that do not add more than $1,000 to the cost, or limit the efficiency of the system by 10%.  

Reasonable attorney's fees incurred during a court case between a property owner and a common interest development or HOA will be awarded to the prevailing party. AB 2180 of 2008 provided even more consumer protections under the Civil Code by providing that any homeowners' association that is not a public entity that willfully violates the Solar Rights Act must pay the solar system owner a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000. AB 2180 further provides that the approval or denial of any application submitted to authorize the installation of a system must be made in writing within 60 days. If the application is not denied within 60 days it will be deemed approved unless the delay is the result of a reasonable request for additional information.