Solar panels could become commonplace across the Commonwealth, if a bill patroned by Sen. chap petersen is signed into law. The House of Delegates voted to pass SB 222 today, sending the bill through its final legislative hoop before going to the governor for his signature. The House vote was 95-4.
The Senate is anticipated to pass the final version of the bill tomorrow.
“Solar power is an important tool in reducing climate change, improving the air quality in Virginia, and building the next generation of distributed energy production.” Petersen said. “I’m pleased that we have finally laid this issue to rest. The General Assembly agrees that homeowners living in HOA’s shouldn’t be unjustly banned from solar energy.”
Petersen’s “Solar Freedom” act is the culmination of a five year quest to allow more homeowners to take advantage of the clean, affordable energy provided by the sun. Upon passage into law, homeowners living in communities governed by homeowners associations (HOA’s) will be allowed to have solar panels, unless the recorded governing document of the HOA specifically forbids them.
Because most HOA’s do not have a ban on solar panels in their recorded governing documents, the vast majority of residents living in HOA’s will thereby be allowed to have solar panels.
Solar energy is a growing industry in Virginia. Companies that install and manufacture solar panels anticipate that the law’s passage will allow them to expand their business: “This legislation removes another significant barrier to solar development in Virginia,” said Tony Smith, CEO of Secure Futures, a solar development company based in staunton va. “We really appreciate Sen. Petersen’s perseverance on this issue.”
“Climate change is here, and the switch from dirty fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy is vital to the health and well being of future generations. Every time we can reduce our green house gas emissions and shrink our carbon footprint, we’re working toward a better future. Thanks to Senator Petersen, more individuals can choose to power their homes with clean, renewable solar energy. We’re celebrating the passage of Senator Petersen’s ‘Solar Freedom’ bill today as a step forward for Virginia.” Said Corrina Beall, Legislative Coordinator of the Sierra Club.
The bill now head to the Senate for a minor procedural “yea” vote, then will be in the hands of the Governor.