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A bill introduced in the Michigan House takes on HOA solar panel bans

Rick Freiman stands in the driveway of his two story smoky grey house on a clear blue sunny day. To his right sits a dark red bush in the home's healthy green front yard, a set of mower tracks still visible.
Michael Symonds
After rejecting his proposal to install solar panels on his roof, Rick Freiman's homeowner association suggested he install solar shingles, a product that was not available in Michigan at the time.

Rick Freiman of Portage says the bill has given him hope for moving forward with a solar installation his HOA rejected.

Back in 2020, Portage resident Rick Freiman planned to install solar panels on his roof.

His homeowner association turned him down, saying the solar panels would not fit the aesthetics of the neighborhood.

But a bill recently introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives has renewed Freiman's hope that he may one day be able to install solar panels.

The Homeowners’ Energy Policy Act would nullify bans on residential solar panels.

Freiman said this is good news, because plenty of Michiganders live in developments governed by HOAs.

“I was amazed and excited that this would eliminate a barrier to people who do want to put solar panels on their houses that — and that could not for the reason, same reason as me,” Freiman said.

One of the bill’s sponsors is Democratic Representative Christine Morse of Texas Township.

Morse said removing barriers such as HOA restrictions on solar panels will be key to hitting the state’s green energy targets.

“It's gonna be really difficult to get there if we have HOAs fighting us every step of the way," Morse said.

The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources, Environment, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation.

Michael Symonds reports for WMUK through the Report for America national service program.

Report for America national service program corps member Michael Symonds joined WMUK’s staff in 2023. He covers the “rural meets metro” beat, reporting stories that link seemingly disparate parts of Southwest Michigan.