California Legislature—2015–16 Regular Session

Assembly BillNo. 1448

Introduced by Assembly Member Lopez

February 27, 2015

An act to amend Section 714 of the Civil Code, relating to real property.


AB 1448, as introduced, Lopez. Solar energy systems: real property restrictions.

Existing law prohibits 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 from effectively prohibiting or restricting the installation or use of a solar energy system.

This bill would prohibit these instruments or a rental agreement or lease from effectively prohibiting or restricting the installation or use of a solar energy system, including a clothesline.

Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: no. State-mandated local program: no.

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

P1    1


Section 714 of the Civil Code is amended to read:



(a) Any covenant, restriction, or condition contained in
3anybegin insert rental agreement, lease,end insert deed, contract, security instrument,
4or other instrument affecting the transfer or sale of, or any interest
5in, real property, and any provision of a governing document, as
6defined in Section 4150 or 6552, that effectively prohibits or
P2    1restricts the installation or use of a solar energy systembegin insert, including
2a clotheslineend insert
begin insert,end insert is void and unenforceable.

3(b) This section does not apply to provisions that impose
4reasonable restrictions on solar energy systems. However, it is the
5policy of the state to promote and encourage the use of solar energy
6systems and to remove obstacles thereto. Accordingly, reasonable
7restrictions on a solar energy system are those restrictions that do
8not significantly increase the cost of the system or significantly
9decrease its efficiency or specified performance, or that allow for
10an alternative system of comparable cost, efficiency, and energy
11conservation benefits.

12(c) (1) A solar energy system shall meet applicable health and
13safety standards and requirements imposed by state and local
14permitting authorities, consistent with Section 65850.5 of the
15Government Code.

16(2) Solar energy systems used for heating water in single family
17residences and solar collectors used for heating water in
18 commercial or swimming pool applications shall be certified by
19an accredited listing agency as defined in the Plumbing and
20Mechanical Codes.

21(3) A solar energy system for producing electricity shall also
22meet all applicable safety and performance standards established
23by the California Electrical Code, the Institute of Electrical and
24Electronics Engineers, and accredited testing laboratories such as
25Underwriters Laboratories and, where applicable, rules of the
26Public Utilities Commission regarding safety and reliability.

27(d) For the purposes of this section:

28(1) (A) For solar domestic water heating systems or solar
29swimming pool heating systems that comply with state and federal
30law, “significantly” means an amount exceeding 10 percent of the
31cost of the system, but in no case more than one thousand dollars
32($1,000), or decreasing the efficiency of the solar energy system
33by an amount exceeding 10 percent, as originally specified and

35(B) For photovoltaic systems that comply with state and federal
36law, “significantly” means an amount not to exceed one thousand
37dollars ($1,000) over the system cost as originally specified and
38proposed, or a decrease in system efficiency of an amount
39exceeding 10 percent as originally specified and proposed.

P3    1(2) “Solar energy system” has the same meaning as defined in
2paragraphs (1) and (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 801.5.

3(e) (1) Whenever approval is required for the installation or
4use of a solar energy system, the application for approval shall be
5processed and approved by the appropriate approving entity in the
6same manner as an application for approval of an architectural
7modification to the property, and shall not be willfully avoided or

9(2) For an approving entity that is an association, as defined in
10Section 4080 or 6528, and that is not a public entity, both of the
11following shall apply:

12(A) The approval or denial of an application shall be in writing.

13(B) If an application is not denied in writing within 45 days
14from the date of receipt of the application, the application shall be
15deemed approved, unless that delay is the result of a reasonable
16request for additional information.

17(f) Any entity, other than a public entity, that willfully violates
18this section shall be liable to the applicant or other party for actual
19damages occasioned thereby, and shall pay a civil penalty to the
20applicant or other party in an amount not to exceed one thousand
21dollars ($1,000).

22(g) In any action to enforce compliance with this section, the
23prevailing party shall be awarded reasonable attorney’s fees.

24(h) (1) A public entity that fails to comply with this section
25may not receive funds from a state-sponsored grant or loan program
26for solar energy. A public entity shall certify its compliance with
27the requirements of this section when applying for funds from a
28state-sponsored grant or loan program.

29(2) A local public entity may not exempt residents in its
30jurisdiction from the requirements of this section.