LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the Homeowners’ Energy Policy Act into law on July 8, making it illegal for homeowners’ associations (HOAs) to restrict the installation of rooftop solar panels and other “energy-saving equipment.” With Michigan’s legal mandate to reach 50% renewable energy by 2030, this new law—also known as House Bill 5028—contributes to Whitmer’s goals of reducing carbon emissions and promoting renewable energy.

The law covers a range of energy-efficient and renewable energy technologies, including rooftop solar panels, reflective roofing, rain barrels, electric vehicle charging stations, air source and ground source heat pumps, energy-efficient appliances, windows, insulation, and solar water heaters. HOAs are now prohibited from blocking these improvements or imposing additional fees, post-installation reports, or energy usage monitoring. 

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Rep. Ranjeev Puri (D-Canton) said that the act ensures that homeowners have the freedom to reduce their energy consumption and utility bills without bureaucratic obstacles, according to MLive.

Additionally, Grace Michienzi, senior policy director of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council, told Bridge Michigan that: “This legislation protects a number of different energy-saving improvements and catches us up to neighboring states, including Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Ohio.”

The bill passed along party lines in the Democratic-led Legislature and faced both strong support and opposition. Proponents, including environmental groups and renewable energy companies, praise the law for empowering homeowners to make environmentally friendly upgrades without fear of HOA restrictions. Opponents, however, argue that it undermines the authority of neighborhoods to self-govern and maintain aesthetic standards.

Matthew Heron, an attorney and legislative action committee co-chair of the Michigan chapter, expressed concerns about the bill’s mandate. “This bill will mandate and require that certain things be allowed even over the objection or views of those who live in the community,” Heron told Bridge Michigan. “In our view, that undermines (HOAs’) democratically elected board of directors.”

Although concerns exist, the legislation includes specific guidelines to maintain neighborhood aesthetics. For instance, HOAs retain the right to reject solar panel installations if they extend more than six inches above the roofline, fail to align with the roof’s slope, or feature framing or wiring that is not silver, bronze, or black.

The new legislation is set to take effect in 90 days.