Investigation: Fight for light between homeowners and associations over solar power, despite new law

Posted: Mar 25, 2021 / 05:28 PM EDT / Updated: Mar 25, 2021 / 08:00 PM EDT

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – In a power struggle involving a family in Chesapeake, there is not even a hint of hope that it will not cause a complaint.

Will Rivera says he wants to save some money and help save the community. He wants to install solar panels on his roof in the Elinburgh area in Chesapeake. Rivera obtained a rejection of a single ruling from the Art Architectural Review Committee.

“I feel humiliated. It’s just that the method (it is said) is not acceptable and your views do not count, “Rivera said.

“Solar Panels are allowed on buildings within Elinburgh as long as they are not visible from the public on the right-hand side,” said a statement from Doug Fuller, a leading member of the Elinburgh Architectural Review Committee.

The ARC regulates both residential and commercial building permits. Fuller is also a director of Elinburgh retailer Precon Development Corporation, Inc., and a resident of Edinburgh.

“There are homes in Elinburgh that can take this design so the application can be approved by Elinburgh ARC. Any form of solar panels that is not approved by the public is a violation of the Elinburgh Detailed Standards and Compression Agreements and is intended to regulate measures within the full rules of the Commonwealth of Virginia, ”said Fuller.

But ten of your side saw two houses in the area with solar panels – clearly visible from the road because that was where our camera was. Rivera’s lawyer, Matthew Gooch, says he has a strong case.

“I just managed to win two more Chesapeake cases. We hear him very well in the official arena, ”said Gooch. “They have banned the sun through board operations and Virginia law does not allow that.”

Fuller says the committee’s structure is within the law, Gooch says it’s not. Is there any daylight?

“It stands next to the courthouse, sadly,” Gooch said. “It would be better to say.”

A new Virginia law passed last year states that the HOA, in the case of a Rivera construction inspection committee, cannot force a landlord to change the design or location of the day if it adds 5% or more to rent, or cuts the power system by 10% or more.

Hampton Roads areas have more solar homes than you can imagine. Chopper 10 flew over several locations where people are crashing into the sun’s rays.

The local manufacturer claims that it usually runs in the sun’s rays.

“I would say that 25% of the communities we serve have HOA restrictions, and therefore out of those twenty-five half of those jobs are not eligible,” said Chad Wilkins, owner of Convert Solar.

“Solar is one of the best alternative energy solutions we have,” said Rivera. He says his $ 50,000 he is able to withdraw electricity bills at a rate of $ 280 a month, instead of having a minimum of $ 500 or more during the summer heat.

Wilkins says despite the restrictions in the community, his business is still growing.

“People need solar panels. Many people are doing just that because they want to reduce their carbon footprint. So if HOA has an old law or does not comply with market requirements, then they are only hurting their share. “

Rivera’s lawyer says unless the Elinburgh committee changes its position, he will file a lawsuit in the next week or two, during the first season. He sees some cases like Rivera’s above.

“We keep calling. I thought after the first few centuries that we did it would go away, but people were coming to us, ”Gooch said.