Plano Developers Won't Let Homeowners Install Solar Panels Because They're Just So Ugly

Categories: The 'Burbs

SolarPanels.jpg
Pujanak
Plano developers think solar panels like these aren't very pretty, and would prevent sales.
Darn those young vegan-organic-diet, yoga-loving hippies with their electric cars and their solar panels. They must all be moving up to Plano from Austin, and frankly the Plano home builders and developers won't stand for it.

In 2011, state legislation forbade Home Owners Associations from banning solar panels on homes. But a fine-print clause pushed by the Texas Homebuilders Association stipulates that if a neighborhood is still under development, neighborhood developers and the HOA have the right to stop homeowners from installing solar panels.

Plano residents have been particularly proactive in the push for solar panels. Solarize Plano and the Plano Solar Advocates have both pushed the city to encourage wider adoption of solar panels. But the little-known exception to state law came to light when a homeowner in the Trails of Glenwood neighborhood -- apparently an area with as medieval an attitude as its name -- denied one resident's request to install panels on his roof.

The reason developers give for this rule is that solar panels are not aesthetically pleasing, and in areas that are still under development they could inhibit sales. Plano Solar Advocates received the following response from the Plano-area homebuilders:

The concern is, by allowing the installation of unsightly solar panels and equipment there would be a negative impact on the aesthetic quality of the entire community. So while solar panels would be a positive with regard to energy savings of the individual homeowner, it could negatively impact the rest of the property owners in Trails of Glenwood via diminished property values.

Larry Howe, who's spearheading the solar movement in Plano with Plano Solar Advocates, scoffs at the homebuilders' response. "It's really kind of an old argument. They're [solar panels] still new in some areas and people just have to get used to it," he says. "The technology is available now, so a person should be able to generate their own electricity. It's a fact of life."

Plano environmental advocates are now pushing for greater transparency regarding any possible limitations to solar panel installation. Howe says many local residents aren't aware of the stringent requirements when they purchase a home. And the neighborhood development can continue for several years, delaying homeowners' solar panel installation for at least that long.

"The builders are nervous that they won't be able to sell lots, but I think it's the other way around. Ten years ago if people put up panels you could make an argument, but there are codes, and these are professionally installed," says Howe. "So we think the builders should be making their homes solar ready. They're doing that in other cities, but we think that should change here too."


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42 comments
chris2044
chris2044

SOlar power works and is looking better all the time, I hope this HOA rethinks it a little more as its taking off around the world, the biggest issue I see is all these cheap installers that jumped into this after taking 1 class, many never serviced anything like this, they are complete clueless make sure and get a NABCEP installer/Electrician type to do your installs and that they come to the job and install it with the helpers.  most companies have untrained people they hire that week to go up on some very nice homes.   of course it works kinda sort of for other trades, but it doesn't for solar,  oncor this year plans to require nabcep certified installers, so that helps some. I think if HOAs would go look at some of the new panels and installs done by real pros they may change their mind.

pak152
pak152

"Plano residents have been particularly proactive in the push for solar panels."

which Plano residents? how many? couldn't find anyone you could quote? come give us some evidence of this push for solar panels. 

PabloScobar
PabloScobar

Ironically the homes themselves are uglier than the solar panels in some instances.

RobertFrank
RobertFrank

Wow, so much hatred for Plano! Yes, I hate to live in a city with phenomenal schools for my children, beautiful homes at an affordable price (compared to pretty much anywhere else in the nation), with a lot of big businesses for employment, great police force, great parks, etc, etc, etc. Now we are getting greener. It really stinks!

You guys are so envious... Why don't you move to Plano and be done with it?

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

It would be interesting to both reporters and lawyers to know the prevailing opinion of development residents in regards to the panels.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

When the builders discover that they can make a buck from selling homes with solar panels, the restrictions will disappear very quickly.


Of course they will want to install the cheap knockoff panels from China.

Tim.Covington
Tim.Covington

IMO, solar panels aren't that bad looking. But, if I remember correctly, home builders were the ones who stuck wood shingles requirements for homes in several neighborhoods in Plano. This lead to several homes catching fire because sparks jumped from one home to another.

If my home didn't already have almost constant shade from trees, I would have already installed solar panels myself.

ColonelAngus
ColonelAngus

I have nothing against solar panels, but they are a bad bet in north Texas.  One is unlikely to get halfway to the payback point before the panels are destroyed in a hailstorm. 

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

So is everyone in Plano ugly or is it just homeowners?

From what I remember, it's the former...

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Refusing to support BigCoalFiredPower is just too "ugly" for a Texan to comprehend.


CrackerDaddy
CrackerDaddy

It's fucking Plano.  What did you expect?

banepage
banepage

developers don't want to be forced into the solar business and then have to cover that stuff under a warranty. It's just too much trouble to deal with from their perspective...On one hand I can't really blame them but I do think that homeowners should be able to go in on their own and at their own risk if they want solar.


Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

Um...news days ago.

Thanks for your effort.

JasonIsAGeek
JasonIsAGeek

@RobertFrank  Beautiful homes? You mean brick tract housing that's indistinguishable from the rest of the burbs.

PabloScobar
PabloScobar

@RobertFrank blah blah blah. Plano is sterile, generic, and bland. There is nothing any more special about Plano than there is about Allen, Coppell, Frisco, blah blah blah. Remove the street signs and you wouldn't have any idea where plano starts and frisco begins. all ugly mcmansions with the trademark three points and an arch. bleck

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@ColonelAngus

And like a good neighbor, State Farm will gladly charge you a nifty premium for the things.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@Montemalone lets just say the cocaine and boob job Plano housewife hasn't age well.  The prime time was the mid 90's so they are well into their 60s now

CitzenKim
CitzenKim

@CrackerDaddy What a fucking stupid thing to say.  It is a STATE law that the developers are using, and it's only coming to publicity that SO MANY PLANO RESIDENTS are trying to be progressive and install solar power.  Try again. 

RobertFrank
RobertFrank

@JasonIsAGeek @RobertFrank Yes, I mean that. Tastes are personal, but what is a beautiful home in your view? Talking about down to earth stuff, not Housewives of wherever stuff...

RobertFrank
RobertFrank

@PabloScobar @RobertFrank Totally agree that Plano, Allen, Frisco look all the same. I'm fine with that, I could live in any of those, but Plano has more commercial areas so it's more convenient. Sterile, bland...I dunno, Maybe. I have kids and it's great. Likely if I was in my 20s and without kids I wouldn't live here. But I have to say, having lived the Uptown Dallas high end apartment life...I was sick and tired of the break-ins! So...I don't know if I would go back to that anyway.

LHowe
LHowe

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul @ColonelAngus While I don't have any specific data, I have been asking around, and it seems in most of the DFW hailstorms, roofs are having to be replaced, but little or no damage to solar panels.  If anyone knows of a way to get data on this, please add a comment.

CrackerDaddy
CrackerDaddy

@ScottsMerkin @Montemalone The graveyard for "retired" strippers from The Men's Club, Baby Doll's and The Lodge?

Of course, strippers, like prostitutes, never "retire".  They just take vacations.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@bvckvs did you take care of those outstanding arrest warrants yet?

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@bvckvs arent you supposed to be preparing a classroom for school or something

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@pak152 @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul @ColonelAngus 

Knives go dull.

Cars wear out.

Batteries run down.

Paint fades.

Shoes wear out.

Roofs begin to leak.


It is called entropy.

ColonelAngus
ColonelAngus

@LHowe @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul @ColonelAngus  I also have no data, but in the area where the above video was filmed, every car caught outside was totaled.  The stones punched through laminated safety glass without even slowing, and destroyed the interiors of the cars.  The sheet metal had indentations two to three inches deep all over.  It looked like a war zone.  IDK what could stand up to that.

ColonelAngus
ColonelAngus

@LHowe @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul @ColonelAngus  Here's a video from a manufacturer purporting to show how tough their panels are.  Note how their simulated hailstones explode upon impact, while the ones in the video above stay intact after impacting concrete.  Stones' density varies depending upon how many trips up and down the thunderhead they travel.  The Coppell stones were obviously very dense.  I'm not taking the gamble with tens of thousands of bucks.  Power is cheap in Texas.


http://renewableenergysolar.net/can-my-solar-panels-withstand-a-hail-storm/



CrackerDaddy
CrackerDaddy

@doublecheese @CrackerDaddy @CitzenKim Perhaps it will become that way.  I'm sure somewhere out in Gated Community Land a HOA enforcer is reading about this and already planning to flex his/her muscles by banning the installation of solar panels.  It is only a matter of time.

For now, Plano is leading the way.

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