Though Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently signed into law a bill to regulate the power that homeowners associations have over rooftop solar, an HOA and local government are moving forward with legal action against a homeowner.
The city of Bellville in southwest Illinois and an HOA association for the community of The Orchards are suing the Bassler family for installing solar panels on the front of their home, facing the street. The HOA asserted that panels are only allowed on the back of the home. The Basslers told local news outlets that panels on the front are necessary to meet their generation needs.
Prior to the passage of HB 644, HOAs could tell their members where rooftop solar panels would be allowed. Under provisions of a 2011 law, however, HOAs were barred from specifying placement that would “impair the effective operation of a solar energy system.”
The new law expands on the idea of “effective operation,” stating that any placement bylaws enacted by an HOA cannot reduce the annual maximum output of a system by more than 10% of the original design.
(Read “Bill would expand the ITC to include integrated solar roofs.”)
Paul McKnight, owner of the company that installed the panels on the Basslers’ home, told local press that adhering entirely to the community bylaws would lead to a 35% reduction in the system’s capacity .
The issue then became whether or not the HOA bylaw would impact the system’s operation under the old law, or if the case would be considered under the new law, which was enacted after the installation was completed and the lawsuit was filed. The Basslers argued that other homes in the community have been allowed to install panels on the front of their homes. Their motion to dismiss the case was rejected.
Illinois State Rep Dan Didech, who introduced HB 644, called the HOA action “unreasonable” and said that such resistance is part of the reason why he introduced the legislation in the first place.
Some of the Basslers’ neighbors, also quoted by local press, said that they had no issue with the installation, and that others in the neighborhood had expressed interest in installing their own solar systems.
The two sides will return to court later in August.
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@Tim: Is a link to the court complaint available?
Biden should get in on the act and urge Congress to nullify all HOA solar agreements, past and present.
There is absolutely no reason to make homeowners conform to such unlawful agreements!
Good for the Bassler family. I hope the court puts the HOA in its place and they have to pay all the Bassler’s attorney and court costs.
As a past President of a HOA, I would agree that placing the solar array on the back of the home on a non-south-facing room would make no sense. It is even possible that the production hit could be more than 35% depending on the time of the year. Stand your ground and hopefully you get a judge who sees that solar is a good thing and needed on every home in America.
Why hide the solar panels on the backside? I find solar panels a thing of beauty. In fact, to me, when I see a south facing roof with no panels on it, I feel like something is missing, the house looks unfinished.
Thanks for the update.
Is the photo in the article the actual home in the suit?
The aesthetics look to be quite well done.
Hey! Do you have any news, what are the results of the trial?
The case is still open. The latest action was a motion to dismiss. You can look up the case using the Case Number: 20-MR-0309 on the County website http://www.co.st-clair.il.us.
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