SOLAR PANELS AND HOMES ASSOCIATIONS IN MISSOURI

Attributed to Amundsen/Davis:

The right to use solar energy has long been considered a property right in Missouri. See Section 442.012 RSMo. Even though the right to use solar energy is a property right, it may be subject to restrictive covenants, just like any other property right.

On Wednesday, June 29, 2022, Missouri Governor Parsons signed legislation that will change how homeowners associations may regulate the installation and use of solar energy within their communities, effective as of January 1, 2023.

Under the newly enacted legislation, deed restrictions, indentures, covenants, or similar binding agreements cannot limit or prohibit, or have the effect of limiting or prohibiting, the installation of solar panels or solar collection devices on the rooftop of any property or structure.

Homeowners associations may, however, enact reasonable rules regarding the placement of solar panels or other solar collection devices as long as the rules do not prevent the installation of solar collection devices or impair the functioning, use, or efficiency of solar collection devices.

Homeowners associations with existing restrictions prohibiting the use of solar collection devices will likely find their restrictions unenforceable.

All homeowners associations should review their restrictions, and formulate reasonable rules and regulations regarding the installation and operation of solar collection devices. To be enforceable, any such rules or regulations should contain carefully drafted exceptions to prevent a finding that the rules and regulations impair or adversely affect the use, function, cost, or efficiency of a solar collection system.

The new legislation does not apply to condominiums or other communities in which the roofs are not owned, maintained, or controlled by the homeowners.

The new changes will be added to RSMo 442.404. They went into effect on January 1, 2023.

3. (1) No deed restrictions, covenants, or similar binding agreements running with the land shall limit or
prohibit, or have the effect of limiting or prohibiting, the installation of solar panels or solar collectors on the rooftop of any property or structure.

(2) A homeowners’ association may adopt reasonable rules, subject to any applicable statutes or ordinances, regarding the placement of solar panels or solar collectors to the extent that those rules do not prevent the installation of the device, impairs the functioning of the device, restrict the use of the device or adversely affect the cost or efficiency of the device.

(3) The provisions of this subsection shall apply only with regard to rooftops that are owned, controlled, and maintained by the owner of the individual property or structure.

Here is a link to the Truly Agreed to and Finally Passed bill text: https://www.senate.mo.gov/22info/pdf-bill/tat/SB745.pdf.