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Condo Facts:

Solar Energy

For a number of years, the law (HRS §196-7, HRS) permitted single-family homeowners and owners in non-condominium townhouses to install solar panels on the roofs of their properties, even if the restrictions of the association prohibited such panels. Act 157, which took effect on September 1, 2005, extended the existing law to condominium “townhouses” (as defined in the act) but not to other types of condominiums. Thus, the act allowed individual condominium townhouse owners to install solar panels on the common element roofs of condominium townhouse properties. The act required a condominium association to adopt design rules or specifications governing the placement of solar energy devices by December 31, 2006. The rules would essentially allow a condominium association to control but not prohibit the installation of solar energy devices on the common element roofs of townhome projects. If no rules exist, compliance with the rules is not required. Therefore, associations have to adopt rules if they wish to control installation of solar energy devices (beyond the obligations imposed on the unit owner by the statute). Note, the law was amended in 2010 to add provisions, including a requirement that revised solar rules be adopted by July 1, 2011.

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