Sigora Solar helped deliver a major win for homeowners in Powhatan in a long-running battle with their neighborhood homeowners association. Sigora Solar began the installation of an 18 kw system Monday that will reduce the Desmet family’s electricity bill by as much as 94% and save them over $55,000 over the next 25 years.
Dina and Dave Desmet’s initial application to install solar panels on their home was denied as their homeowner’s association sought to change the neighborhood bylaws on solar in violation of Virginia law. Working together, Sigora Solar, Local Energy Alliance Program, Charlottesville Renewable Energy Alliance (CVilleREA), and the law firm of ReisingerGooch, were successfully able to get the Desmet’s HOA application approved and pave the way for more solar access in Virginia.
“We are just thrilled to finally get to this day,” said Dina Desmet. “We can’t thank everyone enough for helping us go solar. It was a long fight, but hopefully our case puts other HOAs on notice that they can’t stop residents from installing solar.”
Additionally, Sigora was part of a legislative coalition alongside Solar United Neighbors that worked to change Virginia law to create even more protections for homeowners who want to go solar. Under previous law, HOAs are allowed to establish reasonable restrictions on solar panel installations. The new law passed by the General Assembly this year defines restrictions as unreasonable if they increase the cost of the system by 5 percent or decrease performance by 10 percent. This law goes into effect July 1.
“Sigora is about more than just installing panels. We believe in fighting for our customers and their rights,” said Logan Landry, CEO of Sigora Solar. “Whether it is putting boots on the ground in Richmond to pass the largest clean energy reform bill in Virginia history or going toe-to-toe with HOAs to make sure the rights of our customers are respected, we will be with you every step of the way. The Desmet’s courageous fight is an inspiration to all of us.”
The Desmet’s battle was first chronicled by CBS6 in Richmond, Virginia. After this news story and a collaborative effort by LEAP, CvilleREA, ReisingerGooch, and Sigora, the HOA relented and approved the installation.
“Sigora is investing heavily in making policy changes that will make it easier and more affordable for people to go solar,” said Karla Loeb, Chief Policy and Development Officer at Sigora. “The changes made this year will stop HOAs from standing in the way of homeowners who want to go solar.”
For more on the 2020 legislative changes, click here.