Alternative Energy Bill Passes PA House

July 2010Newsletters In the Zone

On June 23, 2010, a bill authored by State Rep. Tom Houghton (D-Chester) that would remove obstacles for Pennsylvania homeowners who want to take advantage of alternative energy use in their homes passed the state House.

The legislation would make it easier for homeowners to install solar panels on their roofs, which will support residents employing alternative energy means. However, restrictions for other alternative energy installations elsewhere on the property would not be changed.

House Bill 2234 would prohibit restrictions to deeds or covenants of residential properties that prevent homeowners from installing solar panels.

Houghton said the final version of the bill addressed concerns raised by local homeowners' associations and includes an amendment he authored, which was supported by the Communities Associations Institute, that ensures the right of homeowners while also recognizing the legal and safety liability of homeowners associations.

Houghton also worked to preserve the ability of homeowners associations to reasonably regulate the aesthetic impact of solar panels to ensure the harmonious design of a community is maintained as intended.

"Like the 21 other states with solar access laws, I wanted this bill to be about creating a freedom of energy choice for Pennsylvania homeowners, while protecting essential HOA agreements," Houghton said.

The bill heads to the state Senate for consideration.

For more information, please contact Carrie B. Nase at 215.299.2030 or [email protected].