Solar rights now the law in Louisiana

The current oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico has further cemented Louisiana’s image as an “oil state” in the public mind… and as someone who grew up there, I can attest this isn’t a myth. Yet while arguments continue over the role offshore oil drilling should play in the state’s economy, Louisiana has also moved quietly, but decisively, into the solar age. The state features generous tax incentives for home solar installation, and, in 2009, became one of the first to establish a statewide property-assessed clean energy financing (PACE) program.

Earlier this month, the state further established its role as a solar leader by making “solar rights” the law. Governor Bobby Jindal signed the Solar Bill of Rights, which simply grants homeowners the right to install solar collectors… even if their homeowner’s association (the main target) says “no.” This brings the Bayou State into a fairly exclusive club, including California, Arizona, Hawaii, and Florida.

Are solar rights really that big a deal?

This may seem like a small step, but, as our friends at Calfinders have pointed out multiple times, homeowners associations have stood in the way of solar installations in many cases… they’ve even tried it in states with solar rights laws. Not sure how this would affect property values negatively (the default position for these organizations), but it’s good to see that states in regions with ample solar resources aren’t letting HOAs through up hurdles to homeowners that want to lower their electric bills and carbon footprints.

Know of instances where homeowners associations have tried to block solar installations? Let us know about them…

via Louisiana Solar Energy Association


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Image: University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s entry in the Solar Decathlon, the Beausoleil House
Credit: Jim Tetro/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon/NREL