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AB-2180 Solar energy.(2007-2008)

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AB2180:v93#DOCUMENT

Assembly Bill No. 2180
CHAPTER 539

An act to amend Section 714 of the Civil Code, relating to solar energy.

[ Approved by Governor  September 28, 2008. Filed with Secretary of State  September 28, 2008. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2180, Lieu. Solar energy.
Existing law provides that a covenant, restriction, or condition contained in any deed, contract, security instrument, or other instrument affecting the transfer or sale of, or any interest in, real property that effectively prohibits or restricts the installation or use of a solar energy system is void and unenforceable, except as specified. Existing law provides that whenever approval is required for the installation or use of a solar energy system, the application for approval shall be processed and approved by the appropriate approving entity in the same manner as an application for approval of an architectural modification to the property, and shall not be willfully avoided or delayed. Any entity, other than a public entity, that willfully violates these provisions is liable to the applicant or other party for actual damages and must pay a civil penalty to the applicant or other party in an amount not to exceed $1,000.
This bill would require that an approval or denial of an application be in writing. The bill would also provide that an application shall be deemed approved unless it has been denied in writing within 60 days from the date of receipt of the application, unless the delay is the result of a reasonable request for additional information. These provisions would apply only to an approving entity that is a homeowners’ association, and that is not a public entity.
This bill would incorporate changes made by AB 1892 that would become operative if both bills are enacted and this bill is enacted after AB 1892.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 714 of the Civil Code is amended to read:

714.
 (a) Any covenant, restriction, or condition contained in any deed, contract, security instrument, or other instrument affecting the transfer or sale of, or any interest in, real property that effectively prohibits or restricts the installation or use of a solar energy system is void and unenforceable.
(b) This section does not apply to provisions that impose reasonable restrictions on solar energy systems. However, it is the policy of the state to promote and encourage the use of solar energy systems and to remove obstacles thereto. Accordingly, reasonable restrictions on a solar energy system are those restrictions that do not significantly increase the cost of the system or significantly decrease its efficiency or specified performance, or that allow for an alternative system of comparable cost, efficiency, and energy conservation benefits.
(c) (1) A solar energy system shall meet applicable health and safety standards and requirements imposed by state and local permitting authorities.
(2) A solar energy system for heating water shall be certified by the Solar Rating Certification Corporation (SRCC) or other nationally recognized certification agencies. SRCC is a nonprofit third party supported by the United States Department of Energy. The certification shall be for the entire solar energy system and installation.
(3) A solar energy system for producing electricity shall also meet all applicable safety and performance standards established by the National Electrical Code, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and accredited testing laboratories such as Underwriters Laboratories and, where applicable, rules of the Public Utilities Commission regarding safety and reliability.
(d) For the purposes of this section:
(1) (A) For solar domestic water heating systems or solar swimming pool heating systems that comply with state and federal law, “significantly” means an amount exceeding 20 percent of the cost of the system or decreasing the efficiency of the solar energy system by an amount exceeding 20 percent, as originally specified and proposed.
(B) For photovoltaic systems that comply with state and federal law, “significantly” means an amount not to exceed two thousand dollars ($2,000) over the system cost as originally specified and proposed, or a decrease in system efficiency of an amount exceeding 20 percent as originally specified and proposed.
(2) “Solar energy system” has the same meaning as defined in paragraphs (1) and (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 801.5.
(e) (1) Whenever approval is required for the installation or use of a solar energy system, the application for approval shall be processed and approved by the appropriate approving entity in the same manner as an application for approval of an architectural modification to the property, and shall not be willfully avoided or delayed.
(2) For an approving entity that is a homeowners’ association, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 1351, and that is not a public entity, both of the following shall apply:
(A) The approval or denial of an application shall be in writing.
(B) If an application is not denied in writing within 60 days from the date of receipt of the application, the application shall be deemed approved, unless that delay is the result of a reasonable request for additional information.
(f) Any entity, other than a public entity, that willfully violates this section shall be liable to the applicant or other party for actual damages occasioned thereby, and shall pay a civil penalty to the applicant or other party in an amount not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000).
(g) In any action to enforce compliance with this section, the prevailing party shall be awarded reasonable attorney’s fees.
(h) (1) A public entity that fails to comply with this section may not receive funds from a state-sponsored grant or loan program for solar energy. A public entity shall certify its compliance with the requirements of this section when applying for funds from a state-sponsored grant or loan program.
(2) A local public entity may not exempt residents in its jurisdiction from the requirements of this section.

SEC. 2.

 Section 714 of the Civil Code is amended to read:

714.
 (a) Any covenant, restriction, or condition contained in any deed, contract, security instrument, or other instrument affecting the transfer or sale of, or any interest in, real property, and any provision of a governing document, as defined in subdivision (j) of Section 1351, that effectively prohibits or restricts the installation or use of a solar energy system is void and unenforceable.
(b) This section does not apply to provisions that impose reasonable restrictions on solar energy systems. However, it is the policy of the state to promote and encourage the use of solar energy systems and to remove obstacles thereto. Accordingly, reasonable restrictions on a solar energy system are those restrictions that do not significantly increase the cost of the system or significantly decrease its efficiency or specified performance, or that allow for an alternative system of comparable cost, efficiency, and energy conservation benefits.
(c) (1) A solar energy system shall meet applicable health and safety standards and requirements imposed by state and local permitting authorities.
(2) A solar energy system for heating water shall be certified by the Solar Rating Certification Corporation (SRCC) or other nationally recognized certification agencies. SRCC is a nonprofit third party supported by the United States Department of Energy. The certification shall be for the entire solar energy system and installation.
(3) A solar energy system for producing electricity shall also meet all applicable safety and performance standards established by the National Electrical Code, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and accredited testing laboratories such as Underwriters Laboratories and, where applicable, rules of the Public Utilities Commission regarding safety and reliability.
(d) For the purposes of this section:
(1) (A) For solar domestic water heating systems or solar swimming pool heating systems that comply with state and federal law, “significantly” means an amount exceeding 20 percent of the cost of the system or decreasing the efficiency of the solar energy system by an amount exceeding 20 percent, as originally specified and proposed.
(B) For photovoltaic systems that comply with state and federal law, “significantly” means an amount not to exceed two thousand dollars ($2,000) over the system cost as originally specified and proposed, or a decrease in system efficiency of an amount exceeding 20 percent as originally specified and proposed.
(2) “Solar energy system” has the same meaning as defined in paragraphs (1) and (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 801.5.
(e) (1) Whenever approval is required for the installation or use of a solar energy system, the application for approval shall be processed and approved by the appropriate approving entity in the same manner as an application for approval of an architectural modification to the property, and shall not be willfully avoided or delayed.
(2) For an approving entity that is a homeowners’ association, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 1351, and that is not a public entity, both of the following shall apply:
(A) The approval or denial of an application shall be in writing.
(B) If an application is not denied in writing within 60 days from the date of receipt of the application, the application shall be deemed approved, unless that delay is the result of a reasonable request for additional information.
(f) Any entity, other than a public entity, that willfully violates this section shall be liable to the applicant or other party for actual damages occasioned thereby, and shall pay a civil penalty to the applicant or other party in an amount not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000).
(g) In any action to enforce compliance with this section, the prevailing party shall be awarded reasonable attorney’s fees.
(h) (1) A public entity that fails to comply with this section may not receive funds from a state-sponsored grant or loan program for solar energy. A public entity shall certify its compliance with the requirements of this section when applying for funds from a state-sponsored grant or loan program.
(2) A local public entity may not exempt residents in its jurisdiction from the requirements of this section.

SEC. 3.

 Section 2 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 714 of the Civil Code proposed by both this bill and AB 1892. It shall only become operative if (1) both bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2009, (2) each bill amends Section 714 of the Civil Code, and (3) this bill is enacted after AB 1892, in which case Section 1 of this bill shall not become operative.