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The Florida Solar Rights Act (Florida statute 163.04) protects the right of building owners to install solar panels. This Florida solar law prohibits homeowner associations and other groups from preventing the installation of solar panels on buildings in Florida.

HOAs and other groups are allowed to require their approval of solar system plans before installation. However, approval must not be contingent upon factors that would prevent the installation from functioning properly. This means that HOAs and other covenants can require solar panels to be placed in a specific area of the roof, so long as that area is within 45 degrees of due south. This requirement ensures that restrictions on solar panel placement do not detract from the effectiveness of the solar array since due south is the best direction for solar panels in Florida.

Florida Solar Rights Example

TR is considering moving into a neighborhood with an HOA. The house TR is considering purchasing is oriented east-west with the front of the house facing south.

The HOA restrictions as written prohibit installation of solar panels within view of the street. The only roof face available to TR which meets this requirement is the back of the roof, which faces north.

What are TR’s rights under the Florida Solar Rights Act?

Under the Florida solar rights act, an HOA cannot prevent TR from installing solar panels. This includes prevention based on imposing requirements on installation that would place the solar panels outside of 45 degrees from due south. Since the only roof face that TR has within 45 degrees from due south faces the street, TR must be allowed to install solar panels facing the street, in spite of the HOA’s requirements that the solar panels be hidden from view. In other words, the HOA’s requirements cannot legally be enforced in TR’s case.

More Information About the Florida Solar Rights Act

The Florida Solar Rights Act also applies to clotheslines and “other energy devices based on renewable resources.”

Below is the full text of the Florida Solar Rights Act, also known as the Florida Solar Rights Law or Florida statute 163.04:

(1) Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter or other provision of general or special law, the adoption of an ordinance by a governing body, as those terms are defined in this chapter, which prohibits or has the effect of prohibiting the installation of solar collectors, clotheslines, or other energy devices based on renewable resources is expressly prohibited.
(2) A deed restriction, covenant, declaration, or similar binding agreement may not prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting solar collectors, clotheslines, or other energy devices based on renewable resources from being installed on buildings erected on the lots or parcels covered by the deed restriction, covenant, declaration, or binding agreement. A property owner may not be denied permission to install solar collectors or other energy devices by any entity granted the power or right in any deed restriction, covenant, declaration, or similar binding agreement to approve, forbid, control, or direct alteration of property with respect to residential dwellings and within the boundaries of a condominium unit. Such entity may determine the specific location where solar collectors may be installed on the roof within an orientation to the south or within 45° east or west of due south if such determination does not impair the effective operation of the solar collectors.
(3) In any litigation arising under the provisions of this section, the prevailing party shall be entitled to costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.
(4) The legislative intent in enacting these provisions is to protect the public health, safety, and welfare by encouraging the development and use of renewable resources in order to conserve and protect the value of land, buildings, and resources by preventing the adoption of measures which will have the ultimate effect, however unintended, of driving the costs of owning and operating commercial or residential property beyond the capacity of private owners to maintain. This section shall not apply to patio railings in condominiums, cooperatives, or apartments.

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