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Homeowners associations are more common than you may think. Nearly 30% of Americans live in a home that’s part of an HOA, and besides governing mailbox colors and lawn gnomes, these groups are pretty restrictive about putting up rooftop solar panels.

Timberline Solar shingles atop a home.
Timberline Solar shingles atop a home. Credit: Homefix Custom Remodeling / Courtesy

Luckily for climate-conscious homeowners, recent laws and court decisions in several states have barred HOAs from prohibiting rooftop solar panels. But in many other states, HOAs are free to say solar doesn’t fit within their aesthetic rules.

That’s what Jonathan Lockwood was dealing with as he looked to put solar panels on his home in a hyper-regulated Northern Virginia community. But he was able to sidestep those rules with GAF Energy’s Timberline Solar Energy Shingle. Instead of being placed on top of a shingled roof, the Timberline panels lay flat and blend in alongside the shingles. They’re also easier and more affordable to install than Tesla’s solar roof, which is made up of thousands of tiny panels layered together, a contractor told the Energy News Network.

So as advocates keep pushing states to block HOAs’ solar restrictions, Timberline and other low-profile panels may be homeowners’ best bets.

More clean energy news

☀️ Solar for everyone: Vice President Kamala Harris announced that a U.S. company will buy 2.5 million solar panels from a Korean manufacturer to build the “largest community solar effort in U.S. history,” which will allow people who can’t install their own solar panels to connect to shared arrays. (The Hill, Boston Globe)

🚙 Dissecting EVs’ future: Federal engineers have spent the past year dissecting electric vehicle components to determine how they’re likely to advance in the next decade, with a goal of setting demanding but achievable tailpipe emissions rules that encourage EV adoption. (New York Times, CNBC)

🔍 Uncovering utilities’ hidden costs: Utilities routinely pass along advertising, political spending and other costs to ratepayers, and several states want to stop them from doing so. (E&E News)

💸 Bitcoin’s climate consequences: Dozens of cryptocurrency mining operations around the U.S. are putting enormous strain on the power grid, with many driving heightened carbon emissions and higher electricity bills for their neighbors. (New York Times)

🏦 Not-so-net-zero banks: Developers are building out more and more liquefied natural gas terminals on the Gulf Coast with financing from global banks that have pledged to work toward net-zero emissions. (Guardian)

🔌 Plugging in gets pricey: The expensive, yearslong process of connecting new renewable energy projects and power plants to the grid is forcing renewable energy developers to either scramble to raise more money or abandon projects altogether. (CNBC)

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Kathryn brings her extensive editorial background to the Energy News Network team, where she oversees the early-morning production of ENN’s five email digest newsletters as well as distribution of ENN’s original journalism with other media outlets. From documenting chronic illness’ effect on college students to following the inner workings of Congress, Kathryn has built a broad experience in her more than five years working at major publications including The Week Magazine. Kathryn holds a Bachelor of Science in magazine journalism and information management and technology from Syracuse University.