San Antonio HOA Lawyer Trey Wilson wrote:
Solar energy has been used by humans for thousands of years. Scientists have discovered evidence that Greeks and Romans use burning mirrors to light torches for religious purposes as early as the 3rd century B.C.
In 1977 the U.S. Department of Energy launcheed the Solar Energy Research Institute
“National Renewable Energy Laboratory,” a federal facility dedicated to harnessing power from the sun. Fortunately, San Antonio, and our very own CPS Energy are solar industry leaders.
Yet, despite the historic and modern patterns of embracing solar energy, many restrictive covenants in Texas still expressly prohibit the installation of solar panels on homes and business.
I'll admit, solar panels are ugly.
Solar energy is also a somewhat esoteric topic. But, as our population grows solar energy is becoming an essential alternative to traditional energy sources. Thus, it was time that covenants prohibiting solar energy panels were addressed. That is exactly what happended during the last Texas legislative session.
House Bill 362 was adopted on June 17, 2011, and became effective on that day. The Bill __, and provides, in relevant part:
...a property owners’ association may not include or enforce a provision in a dedicatory instrument that prohibits or restricts a property owner from installing a solar energy device.
As usual, there are certain exceptions, and there is a specific definition of "solar energy device." The effect of the law, however, is clear -- to void a provision violating the general prohibition on CCR provisions that ban the installation of a solar energy device and roofing materials that meet certain criteria.
In my opinion as a lawyer with an active HOA litigation practice, the Legislature got this one right, as this was a law whose time had come!