HB961 on track to help solar homeowners
29 Wednesday Feb 2012
Late yesterday afternoon, the full house judiciary committee passed the Homeowner’s Solar Bill of Rights and it is now headed to the floor for a vote.
Similar in circumstances, but with less institutional funding, the bill takes us back several years, to the proxy war over private property rights, fought between the cable and satellite companies. Homeowner associations arbitrarily blocked installations of satellite dishes. Today, although we still complain that there is nothing on television, at least we can choose our service provider.
The same principle is at work here with HB961. Homeowners who want to choose where they get their energy, may not currently be able to buy it from anyone other than Georgia Power or their local EMC, but they can offset their own consumption (or hot water needs) with PV panels on their rooftop. HB961 doesn’t say that a Homeowner’s Association can’t place reasonable architectural guidelines on solar panels (like you can’t put one in your front yard, or overhanging your roof-line, or have them higher than your backyard fence if they are on the ground), but it does say that your busy-body neighbor can’t tell you what you can do with your own house, your own roof and your own energy. Given the 100% likelihood that energy prices will be rising for the foreseeable future, and that firing up those giant, heavy-polluting oil burners- which Georgia Power has to do on hot summer afternoons- one would suspect that most folks would like to have the opportunity to live a little cleaner and cheaper when possible.
So now, HB961 heads to the Rules Committee, chaired by the Hon. Jon Meadows, to determine when or if it goes on the House Calendar for a floor vote. If it makes it by crossover day, the bill has a good chance for passage.