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Solar Panels in HOA Communities

Frequently Asked Questions

Solar panels offer homeowners with an opportunity to improve their property value, shorten resale time, save money on utility bills, and provide important environmental benefits.  Despite these desirable impacts, some homeowners have encountered challenges and delays when installing solar panels in a HOA community.  If you live in an HOA, it is important to find out what, if any, requirements your HOA has regarding solar.  We reccomend you begin this process as soon as possible. Common HOA concerns about solar panels include:

1.      Reflectivity and Glare

Solar panels are designed to absorb sunlight, not reflect it, so glare is not the issue it’s often portrayed to be.  Most modern solar panels have a predominantly black surface. The panels used by Mountain Town Community Solar also have a black frame, thus mitigating any concerns with glare.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has published this graphic that shows the glare of common surfaces, including solar panels.  Solar panels have a much lower percentage of light reflection than soil, vegetation, and snow.

2.      Color of Solar Panels

Older versions of panels often had a surface that was blue / metallic, but most modern solar panels now have a black surface.  This black surface has been deemed more visually appealing.

3.      Tilted Solar Panels

Solar panels produce different amounts of energy depending on their tilt and orientation to the sun.  In Summit and Wasatch Counties the ideal angle for a solar panel is 41 degrees in order to maximize annual electricity production.  However, the preferred residential installation is on a south or west-facing roof with the panels flush-mounted to the roof.  This installation minimizes cost and system complexity. 

4.      Roof Penetrations and Warranty Impacts

A limited number of roof penetrations are required for fastening solar racking to the roof of a home.  Solar installers take this step seriously and implement a number of measures to avoid leaks.  In addition to sealing all roof penetrations at the source, the racking system used for Mountain Town Community Solar includes a separate barrier between the racking and the roof for enhanced leak prevention. 

The Mountain Town Community Solar contractor works with customers and the original roofing company to ensure that warranties remain intact.  Additionally, all work performed includes a 10-year workmanship warranty that protects a customer’s roof as well as their investment in solar panels, which have a separate 25-year power output warranty of their own.

Download a PDF of this FAQ for your HOA

Learn More:

The Solar Foundation, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy, has published a policy guide for HOAs that are investigating solar panels for their communities.  The guide is titled “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” and is available by clicking here.

Frequently Asked Questions about Solar PV

How does Mountain Town Community Solar work?