Minnesota solar panel laws

Navigating Minnesota’s HOA Laws: 2024 Insights on Solar Panel Regulations

Posted by Omega Property Management | Apr 17, 2024


In 2023, Minnesota passed a law (effective July 1, 2023) that prohibits homeowner associations (HOAs) from preventing single-family, detached residential property owners from installing solar panels. Another new law (also effective July 1, 2023) governs the installation of those solar panels in Minnesota and states that any company that installs them must be licensed as a residential building contractor. Since this new law affects close to 600,000 homeowners, it’s important to look at the implications the law may have. 

This new law will impact how HOAs do business. In this post, we’ll take a further look at what this law is about, and what it means for HOAs and homeowners. 

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Overview of Minnesota’s New Solar Panel Laws

For many years, homeowners in Minnesota who were under the restrictions of HOAs would sometimes run into a wall: their HOA wouldn’t permit the installation of solar panels. This wasn’t the case for all neighborhoods governed by an HOA, but it affected enough that something needed to be done. 

Last year, new legislative measures were put in place that now prevent HOAs from refusing to allow a homeowner in a detached single-family homeowner association to put up solar panels in Minnesota. According to Solar United Neighbor, Minnesota is now one of 28 states with such protections for homeowners in place. 

Implications for Homeowners

Ultimately, Minnesota’s new solar panel laws provide more autonomy for homeowners, allowing for a more environmentally-conscious lifestyle if desired. We all know that global consciousness begins at the individual level, and Minnesota solar panel laws allow homeowners to take specific measures to that effect. 

Renewable energy helps the planet and its inhabitants in many ways. For instance, the reduction in energy production leads to reduced carbon emissions. In turn, this also creates more jobs for people, since it increases the need for manufacturing the technology required for renewable energy resources. It’s also more budget-friendly because it lowers energy costs!

Homeowners who install solar panels may also receive the added benefit of federal tax credits of up to 30% and other financial incentives. 

However, before installing solar panels, you should consider a few things:

  • Overall costs. Are there any other ways you can reduce energy costs? Solar panels will help, but they’re only a tool (and only one tool at that). What else can you do to reduce your energy consumption and, thus, your costs? 
  • Roof condition. If your roof may need replacing in a few years, factor in the costs for current solar panel installation in Minnesota, as well as the costs to reinstall on your new roof. 
  • The professional reputation of installers. While we would like to assume most people are honest and of integrity, the harsh truth is that that isn’t always the case. Before you sign a contract with any company, thoroughly vet the organization! Time spent conducting due diligence can save wasted money on poorly managed installations. Gather references from the company, check Google and Yelp reviews, ask around in local Facebook groups for references, and check the Better Business Bureau for complaints against the company. 

Some utility companies offer financing options for solar panels and other financial incentives, such as a reduced rate. Check with your utility company to further explore your options. 

Impact on HOAs

If you live in a single-family neighborhood with an HOA, you’re probably used to various rules regarding what you can and cannot do to your home’s exterior. In light of this, you might be wondering if there are any limitations or how your community’s regulations for aesthetics come into play.

Unless you are explicitly exempt according to Minnesota Statutes Chapter 326B, you must get approval from your HOA for the type of solar panel you install. The association can put in place reasonable restrictions that don’t decrease projected output by greater than 10% and/or don’t increase the projected cost by 20% for solar water heaters or $1,000 for all other solar installations.

Additionally, the Department of Labor and Industry notes that only photovoltaic (PV) systems may be installed on homes. These PV systems must be installed by someone licensed as a residential building contractor (per 326B.802, subdivision 11) or a residential building remodeler (per 326B.802, subdivision 12).

Final thoughts

With new provisions in the recent legislature, solar panel installation in Minnesota is likely to become much more popular, even amongst those living in neighborhoods with an HOA. 

Want to learn more about what this means? Look no further than Omega Property Management! We know that all communities are different, and we’re committed to enhancing operational efficiency. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help!