Can homeowner associations prevent solar installations?

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Yes, if exterior changes are prohibited and that information was recorded prior to your purchase. You need to review the provisions of all the recorded documents that affect the property specifically any restrictive covenants, rules and regulations. If you still have questions you should call the attorney who represented you when you purchased the property.

As an alternative, it's possible that in today's 'green' real estate climate, you can propose that your board amend your governing documents to allow solar installations, and determine where the panels are placed, how large they are, how the financing arrangements are set out, and so forth, so that your community can take this step into the future -- as an association.

Often, a large buying group makes economic sense overall, and if your assessments pay for electricity, the unused power that can be sold back to the public utility can potentially reduce your assessments, or balance out the expense of installing panels.
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