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Charlotte HOA denies homeowner installation of solar panels several times despite recent NC Supreme Court ruling

A Charlotte man could be saving up to $200 a month if he can ever get approval from his HOA.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Greg Abbott wanted to install 23 solar panels on his home, which could have resulted in an 80 and 90% offset of power use. In February, he sent an application to his homeowner's association.

Abbott said, "All I'm trying to do is save a little money and use renewable energy and help the environment a little bit along the way."

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He said he was denied for a lack of survey. He told WCNC he provided a survey in a subsequent application but was denied once again. Altogether, he said he was denied by his HOA five times.

The Homeowner's Association at Providence Arbours cited rule 6.7 in their CC&Rs. 

It states, "No solar panels, solar collectors or other solar power apparatus shall be allowed on any lot." 

However, North Carolina's Supreme Court's ruling issued this past June affirms the solar access law passed in 2007

This means homeowners associations are not allowed to prohibit solar panels. An HOA can, however, set rules on its placement.

"I'd like them to follow the state Supreme Court ruling that says I can have solar panels on my house and I'd like them to do it quickly," Abbott said.

Significant financial incentives are being offered in 2022, including a federal tax credit that was extended. Solar installations through the end of 2022 will have a 26% tax credit, then back down to 22% in 2023.

Duke Energy is also offering rebates for qualified customers chosen in their lottery. 

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Abbott told WCNC that his HOA is also taking issue with the location of the panels on his house. 

 "The front of my house is not where the HOA wants me to install solar panels but somewhere on the back of my property," Abbot explained.

He said the back faces north, and by installing there, he would lose about 60 percent efficiency from each panel. 

He insists panels on the front would be inconspicuous. 

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 "The panels are barely visible from the common areas of our community. In our case, that happens to be the street," Abbott said. "So, maybe my next-door neighbor would have to see these solar panels when they're in their home, on their second floor, looking out that window. But if they're in the front porch, even in the driveway, they'd never see them."

WCNC checked with Cedar Management, which operates the HOA. They sent out an email to the neighborhood this week asking for a vote to add an amendment that would remove all language on solar panels. 

Homeowners have until the end of September to vote. 75% of neighbors need to vote.

Abbott told WCNC they would not install without HOA approval, out of concern the HOA would fine or even foreclose on their home if they don't comply.

Contact Jane Monreal at jmonreal@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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