Auric Solar Meridian house (copy)

Auric Solar installs solar panels on houses, such as this one in Meridian, and commercial facilities. 

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An Idaho House committee agreed Thursday that homeowners' property rights would be better protected if homeowners associations couldn't ban rooftop solar panels, writes Idaho Press reporter Savannah Cardon. The House Business Committee voted unanimously to introduce a bill proposed by Rep. Ilana Rubel, D-Boise, clearing the way for a full hearing on the measure.

It would protect a homeowner’s right to install solar panels and prohibit installation restrictions, unless the installation would violate building code or safety requirements.

“It’s a combination of just property rights and ensuring that people can do what they want with their houses as long as it’s not infringing on others,” Rubel said.

Aesthetics were the grounds on which homeowner's associations typically defended their decision to forbid rooftop solar panels, according to Rubel.

“I think a lot of that is outdated because modern day solar panels are really pretty unobtrusive,” Rubel said. “I don’t know if some of us remember from 20 years ago when these could be giant, clunky, glaring, shiny things. Modern solar panels are virtually invisible — they’re very hard to see from the street.” You can read Cardon's full story here at idahopress.com (subscription required), or pick up Friday's Idaho Press.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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