Utah SB 154 removes some HOA solar energy barriers for homeowners

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities

Update MArch 11, 2017: Utah SB 154 passed both House and Senate as of late Thursday evening. In the end, there was a compromise. HOAs that currently have restrictions “explicitly prohibiting” solar panels can still enforce those restrictions, unless two-thirds of parcel owners vote to change those restrictions. Reportedly, most HOA restrictive covenants in Utah do not explicitly prohibit solar panels. Therefore the new law – now enrolled and on its way to the Governor – will remove most obstacles typically imposed by HOA architectural standards.

See also

HOA legislation updates -March 2017 (MD, UT, CA )

Read the enrolled bill:


Lawmakers pass bill limiting HOA control on solar

David DeMille , ddemille@thespectrum.com Published 2:57 p.m. MT March 10, 2017 | Updated 23 hours ago

A bill that limits the ability of homeowners associations to regulate rooftop solar installations made it through the Utah Legislature late Thursday.

Senate Bill 154, sponsored by South Jordan Republican Lincoln Fillmore, would prohibit rules against solar in most cases, potentially adding a new roll of homeowners to the list of potential buyers in one of the Utah’s hottest industries. It passed in the House 53-15 and in the Senate 26-2.

Originally written to exempt association rules on architectural standards and other potential obstacles to rooftop solar, a set of changes made over the course of the legislative session granted some concessions to association advocates.

Associations that already have rules explicitly prohibiting rooftop solar will be allowed to keep those rules, unless a two-thirds majority of residents votes for a change.

But for new associations and for associations that don’t already have limits on solar would require a two-thirds vote the opposite way to enact a prohibition.

It only affects detached, single-family homes and does pertain to condominiums, townhomes or other homes with shared roofs.

Read more:



Originally published March 9, 2017

Shelly Marshall of Utah informed me that Community Associations Institute is up to their usual antics. You see, CAI wants to continue HOA limitations on homeowner rights to install solar panels and other solar energy components.

Oh, as usual, the trade group claims that they are not opposed to solar power, but then they lobby for amendments to legislation that would remove obstacles for homeowners, instead carving out ever more exceptions and conditions for permitting association members to install solar components.

Utah SB 154 as originally drafted was intended to remove onerous HOA restrictions on solar components installed on private homes or lots, and to expand applicability of SB 154 to all HOAs, regardless of when the association’s existing CC&Rs were established.

CAI believes that an HOA should be able to enforce certain restrictions on placement of solar components, as long as those restrictions do not either decrease energy productivity by 10% or increase the cost of installation by 10% over the homeowner’s original proposed system design.

SB 154 was drated to reduce that percentage from 10% to 5%, thus reducing the opportunities for your HOA to reject your application for making modifications involving solar energy components.

Here’s a summary written by Shelly Marshall:

Sunday, March 5, 2017

CAI doesn’t want the homeowner to make their own SOLAR decisions
CAI is at it again. This time in Utah.
Summary: URGE your House Representative to vote YES on  S.B. 154 without amendments so you can make your own decisions about Solar and your home.
We know that the Community Association Institute (CAI) should be named “Community Association of Vendor’s Endeavors (CAVE)” because they decidedly do not represent homeowners but their vendors which are lawyers, accountants, contractors and management companies.
So I was not surprised to see this headline in my mail box from the CAI Legislative Committee (I was a committee member once for about 15 minutes): Protect Existing Individual Property Rights
Problem is with the CAI–you must always read further because they seldom support measures that actually protect the homeowner–they protect their vendors, because that is their job. How? By writing and influencing legislation that invests all the power to the BOD and limits as much as possible what a homeowner can do. After all, the board is the one who hires the CAI affiliated vendors. Writes the checks; keeps the vendors in business. If members actually got to make the decisions by voting on what the board can do, then many vendors would not be able to influence the board–and members might decide how they want their own community to be run, without the so-called CAI experts who spend your money. Owners might be the ones who influence their trustees, neighbor to neighbor instead of CAI “expert” to director, you know, like it was done in the old days before CAI got a stranglehold on the association industry.

Read more:



From their website, here’s CAI’s post, spelling out their stance on Utah SB 154:

Excerpt of CAI’s stance:

While supporting sustainable, green policies, we must OPPOSE SB154 (2nd Substitute) unless the following sections are amended:


Latest Status of SB 154

While SB 154 was under consideration of the Utah state legislature, there has been  some back and forth on amendments between the bill’s sponsor, Senator Lincoln Fillmore, and CAI attorneys.

Earlier today, the following 3rd Amended Version passed a third reading in the House by Voice Vote. Fortunately, CAI was not successful implementing its amendment. Senator Fillmore’s proposed 5% limitation on HOA restrictions stands.

Excerpts of 3rd sub version:


Part 7. Solar Access
135          57-8a-701. Solar energy system — Prohibition or restriction in declaration or
136     association rule.
137          (1) As used in this section, “detached dwelling” means a detached dwelling for which
138     the association does not have an ownership interest in the detached dwelling’s roof.
139          (2) (a) A governing document other than a declaration may not prohibit an owner of a
140     lot with a detached dwelling from installing a solar energy system.
141          (b) A governing document other than a declaration or an association rule may not
142     restrict an owner of a lot with a detached dwelling from installing a solar energy system on the
143     owner’s lot.
144          (3) A declaration may, for a lot with a detached dwelling:
145          (a) prohibit a lot owner from installing a solar energy system; or
146          (b) impose a restriction other than a prohibition on a solar energy system’s size,
147     location, or manner of placement if the restriction:
148          (i) decreases the solar energy system’s production by 5% or less;
149          (ii) increases the solar energy system’s cost of installation by 5% or less;

203          Section 4. Section 57-8a-703 is enacted to read:
204          57-8a-703. Applicability.
205          (1) Except as provided in Subsection (2), this part applies to a declaration or official
206     association action regardless of when the declaration was recorded or the official association
207     action was taken.
208          (2) This part does not apply to an express prohibition or an express restriction on a lot
209     owner’s installation of a solar energy system:
210          (a) described in a declaration recorded before January 1, 2017; or
211          (b) created by official association action taken before January 1, 2017.

212          (3) This part does not apply during the period of administrative control.


Because the House and Senate passed slightly different versions, the bill now proceeds to the Senate. Neither the Senate nor the House have thus far accepted CAI’s proposed amendments.


If interested, you can go to this page to sign up for bill tracking.


1 thought on “Utah SB 154 removes some HOA solar energy barriers for homeowners

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close