Activists send message in HOA solar battle

Activists scrawled a graffiti message over the South Shore Heights HOA entry sign. [Photo Credit: SouthShoreHeightsLawsuit.Com]
editors-blog-entry3Things are heating up again in an Omaha, Neb. HOA where a resident, Timothy Adams, is being sued for installing a solar PV system on his home’s roof.

In contrast to the case we covered that occurred in Texas about a year ago in which the HOA dropped its suit against a homeowner and residents are now permitted to install solar on their roofs (although only on their back roof, which discriminates against those with front, south-facing roofs), the South Shore Heights Homeowners Association (SSHA) has so far showed every indication it will take this case to the bitter – and, we hope, for the HOA, losing end – no matter how much it costs HOA members in legal fees.

The SSHA vs. Adams’ case, which we’ve covered ourselves, has garnered local, state and national media attention, in large part because Adams put his case before Omaha residents – and the tens of thousands of people who drive I-80 every day through Omaha — via a giant billboard.

Now, perhaps in part due to this national attention, activists have taken things into their own hands and have scrawled two graffiti messages over two South Shore Heights entry signs.

“Oil Only” South Shore Heights
One sign now reads “Oil Only South Shore Heights” and the other “No Green South Shore Heights.”

I’m not an advocate of such a radical approach to challenging SSHA’s wrong-headedness.

On the other hand, I also believe the anti-solar folks at SSHA deserve this type of criticism.

(They ARE anti-solar no matter what they maintain; otherwise, they would be working to reach a compromise that would allow homeowners to install solar, perhaps with some restrictions.)

Coal far uglier than solar
The whole solar is “ugly” spiel is preposterous. Coal and oil and the billions in negative environmental and health effects they cause are far “uglier” than home solar. Period.

HOAs that ban solar are preventing homeowners from producing their own, local, green energy — as the graffiti artist who scrawled this message clearly wants the world to know. [Photo Credit: SouthShoreHeightsLawsuit.Com]
Because so much is at stake here – humanity’s and the globe’s basic health — the criticism of the anti-solar SSH board ought to be relentless. And, frankly, it ought to be coming not just from the grassroots level, but from large solar organizations such as the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and American Solar Energy Society (ASES).

Up to 60 million homes in the U.S. are in HOAs. More than a few of those HOAs are still extremely regressive on solar. The SEIA and ASES ought to be attacking this issue more aggressively and consistently (the SEIA once had a solar rights manifesto on its web page – but damned if I can find it now!). Not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because solar is almost certainly missing out on significant growth due to anti-solar HOAs in the U.S.

Nebraska behind curve on solar rights
If Nebraska were where it should be on solar and solar rights, it, like 20 other U.S. states would have already passed a solar rights provision that ensures HOAs cannot stop homeowners from installing solar on their rooftops.

In fact, it’s because Nebraska is not where it should be in terms of guaranteeing individual homeowners solar rights that graffiti is now being scrawled on the SSH welcome signs – not because Timothy Adams is taking his case to the public, which he should be.

We’d be doing the same thing if our Aurora, Colo., HOA were as regressive as SSHA, but thankfully it’s not – we had a 5.59 kW system installed on our front, south-facing roof in June 2010 and, just two weeks ago, our neighbors added an HOA-approved 5.1 kW system to their front, south-facing roof! And, of course, we had back-up, just in case: Colorado is among the 20 U.S. states with solar rights provisions.

Wake up Nebraska – and the 30 other U.S. states that do not yet have solar rights provisions – and make the right to clean, green, local, individual energy production and independence a legal right, now!

To support Timothy Adams in his quest for solar rights in Nebraska, check out:

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