There are plenty of ways to be a good neighbor: pick up the mail when they’re out of town, don’t make too much noise at night, return a lost pet. But we think there’s one tactic that stands above the fray: convince your neighbor, or several neighbors, to install a solar home energy system. Here are few ways to turn your neighborhood into a solar generation hot spot, starting with the most obvious.
1. Install a solar PV system yourself.
Start by practicing what you preach. It’s going to be hard for you to convince neighbors to install a rooftop solar energy system if your roof is missing one. So install one atop your home before trying to convince others to do so. You’ll save money on monthly electric bills and, having already gone through the process, you can help your neighbor get the best price, apply for solar energy incentives and find a trustworthy installer.
2. Show off your system.
Once you’ve installed solar, don’t keep quiet about it. Talk to your neighbors about the money you’re saving by using solar energy. You may be familiar with how solar photovoltaic (PV) panels produce energy, but many folks are not. In fact, the system will look foreign to many people in your area, and you’re probably going to get a lot of questions. Take the time to answer them and demystify solar for them. The more they know, the more likely they are to install a solar energy system.
3. Convince the HOA to Install Solar
If you live in an area overseen by a Homeowner’s Association (HOA), you may need to convince the rest of the HOA that solar panels aren’t scary or ugly or loud. So present the idea at a meeting and clearly explain why the neighborhood should encourage solar. If the HOA is going to be difficult, you’re going to have to bring out the law books. Ready? They’re called solar access laws. In some states, these laws include provisions that prevent an HOA from saying no to solar, including: Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin. Your HOA may have restrictions on where and how solar panels may be installed, but it can’t block you or intentionally delay you from doing so.
Check out the Solar Bill of Rights to see what the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is doing to make installing solar energy easier for everyone.