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Indianapolis man battles homeowners association over solar panels

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A fight between an Indianapolis man and his neighborhood homeowners association over solar panels has reached the Statehouse. 

Accountant Joey Myles is not the kind of guy to waste money; he can tell you exactly how much electricity he uses every day with an app on his phone. 

“It is connected to Wi-Fi; I can track it online,” said Myles.

The Indianapolis man said he paid $28,000 for solar panels and the panels will pay off if he is allowed to put them in sun.

The solar panels on his house, according to Myles, should produce enough electricty for his house, plus some. Right now he is getting about half of the power expected because of homeowners association rules.

To capture all of the available energy of the sun, his solar panels should face south, right toward the street, into full view of his neighbors. His neighborhood homeowner association rules say the panels must be out of sight. 

“They are concerned that aesthetics and consistency with other homes, they don’t want them to be seen, so since my home faces the street, the south faces the street, they said, ‘Well, we can’t let you put them there. That is going to be street view, and people are going to see them, and they are going to think they are ugly,’” said Myles.

While the homeowners association allows solar panels, the language regulating size, location and type is vague, according to Myles.

To move his solar panels, Myles needs to change Indiana law, and he has several state lawmakers, including State Sen. Jim Merritt on board trying to make that happen.

“The homeowners association just can’t autocratically prohibit it now,” said Merritt, a Republican who represents Indianapolis. 

A bill under consideration in the Indiana General Assembly would prohibit HOAs from from creating rules or difficult language in their covenants restricting the placement or use of solar panels.

“People have told me, ‘You know if I saw somebody with solar panels in a neighborhood, it would actually make me want to live there,’” said Myles. 

This is the third year Myles has attempted to get the law changed. 

The bill under consideration has passed in the House and is in the Senate for a third reading. 

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