(1) The governing documents may not prohibit the installation of a solar energy panel by an owner or resident on the owner's or resident's property as long as the solar energy panel:
(a) Meets applicable health and safety standards and requirements imposed by state and local permitting authorities;
(b) If used to heat water, is certified by the solar rating certification corporation or another nationally recognized certification agency. Certification must be for the solar energy panel and for installation; and
(c) If used to produce electricity, meets all applicable safety and performance standards established by the national electric code, the institute of electrical and electronics engineers, accredited testing laboratories, such as underwriters laboratories, and, where applicable, rules of the utilities and transportation commission regarding safety and reliability.
(2) The governing documents may:
(a) Prohibit the visibility of any part of a roof-mounted solar energy panel above the roof line;
(b) Permit the attachment of a solar energy panel to the slope of a roof facing a street only if:
(i) The solar energy panel conforms to the slope of the roof; and
(ii) The top edge of the solar energy panel is parallel to the roof ridge; or
(i) A solar energy panel frame, a support bracket, or any visible piping or wiring to be painted to coordinate with the roofing material;
(ii) An owner or resident to shield a ground-mounted solar energy panel if shielding the panel does not prohibit economic installation of the solar energy panel or degrade the operational performance quality of the solar energy panel by more than ten percent; or
(iii) Owners or residents who install solar energy panels to indemnify or reimburse the association or its members for loss or damage caused by the installation, maintenance, or use of a solar energy panel.
(3) The governing documents may include other reasonable rules regarding the placement and manner of a solar energy panel.
(4) For purposes of this section, "solar energy panel" means a panel device or system or combination of panel devices or systems that relies on direct sunlight as an energy source, including a panel device or system or combination of panel devices or systems that collects sunlight for use in:
(a) The heating or cooling of a structure or building;
(b) The heating or pumping of water;
(c) Industrial, commercial, or agricultural processes; or
(d) The generation of electricity.
(5) This section does not apply to common areas as defined in RCW 64.38.010
(6) This section applies retroactively to a governing document in effect on July 26, 2009. A provision in a governing document in effect on July 26, 2009, that is inconsistent with this section is void and unenforceable.
[2009 c 51 § 1.]