The Dallas Morning News: Texas law lets developers ban solar panels while subdivisions are growing
By Wendy Hundley
August 16, 2014
Eric Schirmer thought the time was right to add solar panels to his Plano home to cut electricity costs and help the environment. The price of solar panels has dropped in recent years and an array on his south-facing rear roof would take full advantage of the ability to generate electricity from sunlight. But when Schirmer submitted an application to his homeowner association, his request was denied — despite a Texas law that bans HOAs from restricting the use of solar power. That’s because homes in his subdivision, the Trails of Glenwood, are still being built. And the law allows builders to restrict solar-energy devices while a housing development is under construction.
Solar advocates call this a legal loophole that creates unnecessary obstacles for homeowners who want to go green. But builders say it’s an exception that protects investments in new housing. Developers object to the solar devices for aesthetic reasons, said Scott Norman, executive director of the Texas Association of Builders, which has 10,000 members. “Their goal is to sell lots in a subdivision,” he said, adding that anything that impedes that goal isn’t good for business or the neighborhood. Read more: