Mission statement

Who we are: A grass roots volunteer group of Plano citizens
Our Mission: To increase awareness and use of Solar Energy for electricity generation in Plano
This Blog: PlanoSolar.org - for articles, useful links, resources, surveys, how-tos
**** Check out our 1 minute video **** Solar Energy in Texas - Don't you wonder?

Monday, April 6, 2020

Overcoming HOAs invoking the "nuisance clause"

It's been a number of years since our last post about HOAs trying to prevent YOU from installing solar PV on YOUR property. Texas statutes have been implemented in 2011 (HB-362) and updated in 2015 (SB-1626) to protect homeowners property rights regarding the installation of solar PV systems on your home.

However, in the last year or so, it seems that some HOAs have been increasingly trying to reject homeowner applications to install solar PV systems due to esoteric "nuisance" clause in the Texas Property Code Section 202.010(e).

In this blog post we provide a bit of background on the esoteric clause and a way to help homeowners planning to install solar PV on their homes overcome this potential roadblock.

The Texas Property Code Section 202.010(e) states:
A property owners' association or the association's architectural review committee may not withhold approval for installation of a solar energy device if the provisions of the dedicatory instruments to the extent authorized by Subsection (d) are met or exceeded, unless the association or committee, as applicable, determines in writing that placement of the device as proposed by the property owner constitutes a condition that substantially interferes with the use and enjoyment of land by causing unreasonable discomfort or annoyance to persons of ordinary sensibilities. For purposes of making a determination under this subsection, the written approval of the proposed placement of the device by all property owners of adjoining property constitutes prima facie evidence that such a condition does not exist.

With the help of Dan Lepinski, an advisor to the non-profit North Texas Renewable Energy Group, and longtime solar energy industry expert, the operative words in this clause are:

"..unless the association or committee, as applicable, determines in writing that placement of the device as proposed by the property owner constitutes a condition that substantially interferes with the use and enjoyment of land by causing unreasonable discomfort or annoyance to persons of ordinary sensibilities."

... with emphasis on "substantially interferes with the use and enjoyment of land by causing unreasonable discomfort or annoyance to persons of ordinary sensibilities."


Dan goes on to explain. Recall these facts:

1. PV systems have no moving parts, and thus are silent.
2. PV system don't emit any odors, and per their material safety data sheets, have no toxic substances, even if broken.
3. Any "glare" concerns can be dispelled with some complicated trig and a few hours' work.  

Regardless of these above facts, some recent attempts by HOAs to reject homeowners from installing solar PV systems on their own property have invoked the "nuisance" clause under the pretense they can apply a visual claim that they are "ugly" - hence aesthetics.

But as Dan goes on to explain in this "To Whom It May Concern" letter he provided, the mere fact that a person's use of their land is "abnormal and out of place in its surroundings" will not support a claim alleging a nuisance, as affirmed by the Texas Supreme Court. Dan has found that providing a copy of his "To Whom It May Concern" letter to an HOA using, or planning to use, the "nuisance" clause has been usually sufficient to have the HOA withdrawn the "nuisance" assertion and move forward with approving the installation.

We hope this information helps anyone overcome attempted rejection by their HOA for a solar PV installation based a potential "nuisance" claim.

Much thanks to Dan Lepinski for his efforts and expertise to research this issue and for graciously making his "To Whom It May Concern" letter available folks to use!

Shine On!
Plano Solar Advocates

Friday, October 4, 2019

TOMORROW IS THE DAY!

The 2019 DFW Solar Tour is a free, one-day event taking place this year on Saturday, October 5, 2019, from 10 am to 4 pm. The general public is invited to visit select innovative homes and buildings throughout the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex.

Over the past ten years, thousands of visitors have toured homes, schools, libraries and other energy efficient sustainable buildings across the Metroplex, from Allen to Weatherford, Denton to Cedar Hill, and all the way out to a rural off-grid home near Azle. Tour visitors from as far away as Houston, El Paso and Hot Springs Arkansas come to see what forward-thinking people in North Texas are doing to build a self-sufficient, renewable sustainable future.
 
The DFW Solar Tour enables people to learn how their neighbors – homeowners and businesses alike – are using solar energy, wind energy, energy efficiency, and other sustainable technologies to save money and reduce consumption of natural resources. The strategies and techniques on display during this year’s tour range from things as simple and easy as changing to LED light bulbs and selecting more efficient appliances, to cutting-edge, ultra-efficient eco-homes and businesses that are generating as much or more energy than they consume!

The DFW Solar Tour is organized by the non-profit 501(c)(3), all volunteer-based North Texas Renewable Energy Group, Inc in cooperation with the Texas Solar Energy Society and the American Solar Energy Society National Solar Tour.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Home Solar Scams and Red Flags

Solar scams are like these red flags

Home Solar Scams and Red Flags
Check out this recent article. "Scammers, fraudsters, and jerks peddling misleading information are everywhere. Unfortunately, they are also in the solar industry. We'll make sure you can see the red flags, and empower you to make smart decisions about solar for your home."

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Solar United Neighbors of Texas

Wow – It’s hard to believe that it has been over 5 years since we did our Solarize Plano Projects! And now we would like to let you know that “group” purchase programs can happen again in Plano with Solar UnitedNeighbors of Texas.

When organizing our “solarize” group purchase projects back in 2013 and 2014, our volunteers reached out to other volunteer groups across the country to get ideas and learn from their experiences. One of those groups at the time was called Community Power Network. We spoke with their founders and learned a lot about their experiences – what worked well and potential problem areas. Since that time, that volunteer group has expanded into a national non-profit called Solar United Neighbors, spreading solar ownership opportunity through hundreds of group purchase projects across many states. We called our group purchase projects “solarize” projects, they call their group purchase projects “solar co-ops”. They are the same!

We would like to encourage residents interested in participating in a group project to purchase installed solar to reach out to this organization to request a solar co-op project here in Plano. To do this, send an email with the subject “Please start a solar co-op in Plano” and include your name and contact information in the email to info@solarunitedneighbors.org 

To learn more about Solar United Neighbors, check out this recent Freeing Energy podcast titled, Episode #117 Anya Schoolman: Can wechange the future of energy one neighborhood at a time?

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Reference Material for Educational Groups

Below are links to production monitoring websites for three of four of Plano's city installed systems.

Check out the Solar Schools Campaign Toolkit for a step-by-step guide to help your school go solar!

Check out the Solar Market Insight Report 2018 Year in Review to learn about the solar industry in the US.

Also, here is link to a brief overview of Solar Energy provided by Plano Solar Advocates - 2019-03 Plano Solar Advocates

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Why solar is likely to power the Home of the Future

"Very few places had air conditioners when the technology first became available, and now it’s rare to find a builder who would create a new home without it." Solar is growing cheaper and more popular each year! Check out this recent article!