Press Release | June 22, 2022

NC Supreme Court upholds NC homeowners’ right to install solar

RALEIGH, N.C.— On Friday, the Supreme Court of North Carolina issued an order in a case
between a Wake County homeowner and their homeowner’s association (HOA) affirming state
law that protects homeowners’ right to install rooftop solar. The North Carolina Sustainable
Energy Association, represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center, submitted a
friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of the homeowners, as did the North Carolina Attorney
General. The North Carolina Supreme Court reversed a Court of Appeals decision in Belmont
Association v. Thomas Farwig,
and upheld the right of a homeowner to install rooftop solar that
a Homeowners Association prohibited, fined, and put a lien on the homeowner’s home for
installing.

The court held that HOA provisions granting broad discretionary authority to architectural
review committees cannot be used to prohibit solar panels. The court also affirmed that the
HOA’s architectural review committee could not limit the location of solar panels to the back of
the home when that would prevent the reasonable use of the solar panels due to roof
orientation.

“The ruling issued by the North Carolina Supreme Court is a significant achievement for
homeowner property rights in North Carolina, affirming access to clean, renewable power for
those previously denied by their HOAs,” according to Peter Ledford, NCSEA’s General Counsel
and Director of Policy. “This decision will reduce a significant barrier to the residential solar
market in North Carolina, supporting jobs in the rooftop solar industry, and helping
homeowners lower their utility bills and clean up the grid.”

“For too long, North Carolina homeowners lived with uncertainty about whether our solar
access law would protect their right to go solar if opinions on their respective HOA boards or
committees swung against it,” said Lauren Bowen, Senior Attorney and leader of Southern
Environmental Law Center’s Solar Initiative. “The North Carolina Supreme Court has now
affirmed the right to go solar under the law and homeowners can now be confident their
decisions to go solar will not be denied arbitrarily.”

North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) is the leading 501(c)(3) non-profit
organization that drives public policy and market development for clean energy. NCSEA’s work
enables clean energy jobs, economic opportunities, and affordable energy options for all North
Carolinians. Learn more about NCSEA, its mission, and vision at www.energync.org

Press Contacts

Kathleen Sullivan

Senior Communications Manager (NC)

Phone: 919-945-7106
Email: ksullivan@selcnc.org

Partner Contacts

Matt Abele

NC Sustainable Energy Association

Phone: 704-658-6265
Email: mattabele@energync.org