Wood Shake roof and Solar panels

2 Replies

I just bought an attached house (PUD) in Fremont. The community was built in 1978. All the houses in the community have wood shake roofs and the HOA dictates that they just be replaced with Wood Shake. My roof is definitely due for replacement (there are small holes in the sheathing and panels have fallen off).

I also wish to install solar panels on my roof (it has always been a dream of mine). 

There is another house in the community that replaced their roof with composite shingle but the HOA made them take it down. Now the house is sitting there without a roof, but just tarp.

While Fremont doesn't prohibit solar panel installation on any specific type of roof, every solar panel contractor I've talked to will not install on a wood shake roof. They all recommend tile or composite shingle. 

While California Law prohibits HOAs from preventing solar panel installations, how do I fight this issue to get the HOA to approve my roof to be replaced with composite shingle? They would not be directly denying my solar panel installation but the reality is, I cannot install it with a wood shake roof.

Roofing contractors I've talked to also do not like wood shake as they state that insurance companies don't like it due to the fire hazard. 

@Kenley Law

You're in a bit of a predicament.

At the end of the day, the HOA rules will have to be changed. That would mean convincing everyone that a change is needed for safety issues to avoid fire hazards and to also allow for solar panels, which would be good for the environment.

Sometimes HOA's forget that they are their to support the home owners and not the other way around.

Do you know if the wood shake roofs are part of a historic look? If they were built in the late 70's, I'm assuming no. But that might be part of the issue.

If there aren't technical reasons to keep the wood shake roofs, you might have to work with the other owners to vote out the current board and replace them with people willing to change the rules.

I have seen homes with wood shake convert to composite shingle only in the areas where solar panels will be installed while leaving the rest of the roof wood shake. Once the panels are installed the composite shingles are not visible, only the wood shake is. Might be an option to appease both the HOA & solar contractors. I personally wouldn't necessarily recommend this avenue, and I'd imagine it would still be challenging to find a solar contractor willing and able to "get creative", but I have seen this play out before.

Is there a possibility of using a ground mount for the solar, rather than the roof?

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