California Homeowner Association Fails To Block Installation Of Low Cost "Blue" Solar Panels

rancho palos verdes solar panel home photo

Solar panel installation in Palos Verdes CA. Image credit:ABC Solar

Because a Rancho Palos Verdes California homeowner association "Art Jury" (they actually have one) did not like the blue-appearance of US-made solar photovoltaic panels that were 30%-cheaper than the preferred, darker alternative (as pictured), they initially refused to permit proposed solar panel installations on three homes. That homeowner association decision was subsequently over-ridden by the City of Palos Verdes CA, as reported in the Penninsula News. The City had the legal ability to over-ride because:-

The Solar Rights Act, or California Civil Code 714, was adopted in 1978 and was created to promote alternative energy use. It prohibits cities and homes associations from restricting solar panel installations, unless they pose a risk to the health or safety of nearby residents.

Green policy blast from the past.
Earth destroyed for future generations by climate change vs colors we don't approve of. Gee, what do we think? Nah.

Thankfully, "liberal" California law makers of the 1970's anticipated the small-minded resistance that would come under the guise of "art juries" Every US state needs a law like this.

Analysis:- marketing opportunities missed on both ends.
Two huge opportunities are being overlooked in this struggle.

With California property values plummeting, homeowner associations ought to be looking for ways to make their developments environment-friendly, so they can attract and keep residents. The choice is clear. They can take the "art jury" approach of screening objectionable designs out (the negative-screen). Or, they can take the positive screen approach and offer choices and flexibility.

Flexibility doesn't mean just permit blue looking solar panels. It means thinking "out of the development" a bit.

For example: associations could pre-negotiate with vendors for limited-time, lower-cost bulk purchasing offers available to association members. Vendor selection could include choices that look out for the red white and blue, perhaps with a caveat that blue-looking panels not be fully street visible. Other creative approaches certainly are possible.

The other opportunity being overlooked is from the supplier end. Made in the USA ought to be a feature and certainly not an aesthetic drawback. Do we really want China to develop the reputation of having aesthetically superior product designs? This goes way beyond cost-effectiveness, federal and state price incentives, and those kind of nuts and bolts considerations. Time to pay attention to looks. Clue those engineers in.

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