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  • Questions on solar installation rules

    I just installed solar panels with conduits exposed out on the roof and my HOA wants me to rerun the conduits inside the roof since the builder pre-plumbed to run conduits inside the attic. My installer says they didn’t see forgot to check for pre-plumb before installation and says I should ignore HOA’s violation letter or pay them extra to do the work.

    Is there any codes or regulations that states the installer needed to do due diligence to check for pre-plumb and run the wires inside the roof?

    installer plan doesn’t mention anything about conduits running outside so HOA didn’t know about it during the approval process. All it says in our CC&R is that wires/conduit must be approved before installing.

  • #2
    IMHO, its perfectly code legal to run conduits over the roof, thus if you did not inform the contractor of the desire to have the conduits run through the roof to the preinstalled conduits.It comes down to you most likely are paying the contractor to rerun the piping to the attic or fighting the HOA. .

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    • #3
      This sounds like a legal question, not a technical one. Do you know a friendly lawyer?

      In general, all contractors are required to do work that meets local requirements. But I don't know if that covers HOA requirements, or just city/town regulations.

      There are specific devices meant to pass conduit through the roof. Whoever does the work, it is critical that they use a good pass-through device and install it correctly.
      7kW Roof PV, APsystems QS1 micros, Nissan Leaf EV

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      • #4
        The due diligence for code compliance and HOA compliance is on the owner.

        However, I'd bet if the installer is competent and ethical (s)he's) pretty familiar with building code requirements. And if the AHJ signed off, and if the installer is competent and ethical, that's probably a safe bet you've got building code compliance.

        If you submitted documentation to the HOA according to their written requirements (CC & R's, Arch. guidelines and other documents) as required, within the required timeframes, and you subsequently received a written approval for your project from the HOA, the HOA had their sniff. As part of the approval process they may check for as built conformance to what you submitted. But if it all checks out as conforming to the submitted and HOA approved docs, well, tough titty for the HOA.

        I'm the guy in my HOA that's responsible for, among other things, review of all the solar projects in my HOA and recommendation for action on such submittals to the full ARC.

        If, after review of all the required submittals, I recommend and the ARC gives approval to a solar project, and it gets completed in accordance to those submitted and approved plans and documents, including any changes the HOA mandates, and if, during that review/approval process I miss something, that's my screwup. Unless it's a real safety issue, I, as the HOA person responsible, own the error. Basically, I had my sniff. If I missed something, my bad.

        For your situation, if your HOA's requirements are insufficiently documented (that is, no more than "whatever the HOA doesn't like" or some vague to the point of being unenforceable) B.S., that is on the HOA, not you.

        Under all those conditions, my guess is if it went to arbitration, you'd have some luck claiming lack of due diligence on the HOA's part for missing something. Before arbitration (which, BTW, I wouldn't be intimidated by), I'd respectfully say that to the HOA and lead the charge to proactively engage and lead the HOA to look for a solution that everyone can live with.

        FWIW, one easy solution to the roof conduit appearance situation I've had some luck with at the same time trying to throw a sack over other Arch. Rev. Committee members who suffer from rectocranial insertion is to suggest the homeowner paint conduit that's on the roof the same color as the roof. While that could be a possible (big ?) safety issue, it has worked to quiet everyone down.

        One reason it seems to work as well as it does, is that it's been my experience that after a couple of weeks nobody notices what's on the roof anyway - including the entire array - and any aesthetic problems go away.

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        • #5
          Thank you all for comment.

          According to HOA meeting minutes, I was told in person by 4 members that the solar panels, wires/conduits can not be visible from the common area and emergency shut off switch needs to be installed behind the fence.

          I agreed and they sent me an approval letter saying that I need to comply with the HOA CC&R but without the above restriction mentioned at the meeting.

          I gave that to my contractor and copy of the CC&R and this happened.

          in the CC&R, it does say that Solar Collector can not be visible from the common area when possible.

          installer also didn’t follow the approved plan by the city by installing the shut off box outside of the fence.
          Last edited by Dearjohn03; 02-29-2020, 06:40 PM.

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          • #6
            If you gave that to the contractor BEFORE they did the work, they are clearly in the wrong and owe it to you to fix both issues.
            7kW Roof PV, APsystems QS1 micros, Nissan Leaf EV

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            • #7
              Originally posted by bob-n View Post
              If you gave that to the contractor BEFORE they did the work, they are clearly in the wrong and owe it to you to fix both issues.
              When you say "they" do you mean the contractor or the HOA is in the wrong? Under the latest facts it would seem the contractor followed the written response of the HOA, and one of the ways that the HOA could make it right is to acknowledge their mistake and allow the exception.

              In my situation with my HOA, they delayed their response beyond the statutory time required in the code at that time (2014). Theoreetically, as a result I could have done anything i wanted but i made sure the installer used some existing conduits within my walls because I agree with the aesthetic of not seeing conduit on the exterior. That was easy because I had abandoned some resistive heat in my ceilings and it was a simple task to extend them to the roof.i do wish I had asked for a little tilt on the panels so they would self clean more than horizontal on my flat roof.
              Last edited by Ampster; 02-29-2020, 11:02 PM.

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