Homeowner seeks advice on reducing exorbitant energy bills against stringent HOA: ‘I don’t even know the feasibility of it’ – The Cool Down

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One homeowner in a large 1980s townhouse was tired of dropping thousands of dollars on winter heating and came up with a creative solution — but they weren’t sure their HOA would be on board.

“Trying to get townhouse HOA to bite on solar,” they said in a post on the r/solar subreddit. “I’ve never seen a complex like ours with solar, so I don’t even know the feasibility of it.”

According to the original poster, they have compelling reasons to want their own solar panels

“We’ve been in this complex three years now, and the one thing that kills us every year is winter heating costs,” they said, adding that their home is all electric. “We have a Nest thermostat that’s set relatively low and we still get whacked with $500/month bills during peak season.”

HOAs aren’t known for adopting solar; in fact, many oppose it, despite the incredible cost savings it provides and how much cleaner it is for the environment. Some residents have to change the HOA’s rules before they get access to solar panels.

However, this Redditor said they had reason to hope. “A couple years ago our crusty HOA president, the furthest thing from progressive, casually tossed out the idea of solar, but said she found it impossible,” they said.

According to the Redditor, they had three goals: “make this amenable to all 35 units,” “avoid any massive special assessment,” and “avoid any surprises roof maintenance-wise.”

Sadly, as some commenters pointed out, the HOA wasn’t the real barrier — the installer was.

“My company won’t take this type of install — you probably won’t find an installer who will,” said one user. According to them, it’s difficult, verging on impossible, to split power from shared solar panels among individually owned homes.

“With this type of project, the best bet is to put solar up on the clubhouse, or to power common areas like hallway lights and laundry rooms,” they suggested instead.

But that didn’t mean the original poster was without options to get the heating bill down.

“If it costs that much to heat, you guys need to seriously look into insulation before solar,” said one commenter.

“1980s all electric = resistive heating. Yikes!” said another user. “Look into cold climate heat pumps.”

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