Recent South Carolina Solar Law and What it Means for Your HOA

A South Carolina solar bill that
was signed into law by Governor Henry McMaster in May this year might have
impacts on your homeowners association by increasing the number of property
owners looking to install some sort of solar technology on their property.  Since most HOAs have architectural approval
procedures for changes to properties, that means that more and more solar
applications are going to be submitted for approval.

Solar panels, solar shingles, and
other solar collectors are increasingly popular options in homeowners
associations.  It is no secret that our
country, our states, and our local governments are all looking for new and
better ways to provide energy.  With the
trend toward smarter and greener technology and ways of providing that energy
many states have enacted legislation that opens the door for solar
technologies.  For an example of another
state’s current law, read my earlier
post on North Carolina’s solar laws
and how they apply to HOAs in
that state.

South Carolina got into the solar
game in 2014 when the SC Legislature first allowed net metering.  Net metering is designed to credit solar
energy system owners for energy they produce. 
So, their power bill is offset by whatever energy their system produces,
and, if their system produces more than the home’s need then any “leftover”
power is exported to the power grid.

The 2014 legislation had created
artificial caps on how much power could be generated through solar
collectors.  In May, South Carolina
Governor Henry McMaster signed a law that eliminated much of these artificial
barriers and extended credits for net metering at least to 2021.  This move was no surprise for those familiar
with South Carolina’s recent nuclear
power debacle
.  

What does this mean for your
HOA? 

It means that if you serve on the
board of directors or the architectural committee, you can expect to see
increasing numbers of applications to install some kind of solar
technology.  In South Carolina there is
no current state law that restricts an HOA’s ability to regulate placement or
even to simply deny installation of solar technologies.  While that may be the case now, the trend in
most states has been to create some sort of limits on a homeowners
association’s ability to deny installation. 

I’ve worked with numerous communities who are
looking to be proactive in their approach to solar technologies.  Whether your HOA wants to look into adopting
a solar policy or just has questions about solar installations, contact a
community association attorney in one of our Charlotte, Greensboro, Triangle,
or Coastal offices today to find out how we can help.

Author: David Wilson
Articles have been Reprinted with permission from Black, Slaughter, Black.

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