The Maryland Court of Special Appeals (CSA) held that a homeowners association (HOA) had the power to prohibit solar panels on the portion of roofs that are visible from the street despite a statute that prohibits unreasonable limitations on the installation of solar panels. Blood v. Stoneridge at Fountain Green Homeowners Ass’n, Inc., 242 Md. App. 417 (2019).
Jonathan and Megan Blood wanted to add solar panels to the house they owned in the Stoneridge at Fountain Green development in Bel Air, Maryland, so they placed 15 solar panels on the front roof and 33 on the rear. Then they asked for approval from their HOA, which demanded that the Bloods remove the panels from the front-facing part of the roof. When the Bloods refused to do that, the HOA brought suit in the Circuit Court for Harford County. That court sided with the association.
The Bloods appealed, and the CSA affirmed.
Real Property Article (“RP”) §2-119(b) prohibits “unreasonable” limitations on the installation of solar collection systems on the roofs of improvements. This statute defines unreasonable limitations as those that substantially increase the cost of the system or substantially decrease its efficiency. The CSA found that having panels only on the rear-facing portion of the Bloods’ roof would not increase its cost on a per-unit of electricity generated basis, and that having panels cover a greater portion of the roof would not be more efficient. However, the Court acknowledged that a greater number of panels would produce a greater amount of electricity, which seemed to be the basis for the law and the reason for putting solar collectors on all parts of the roof. Nevertheless, the CSA held that the association had the right to impose the limitation as to the front-facing part of the roof.
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