How to Get an HOA to Go Solar: Common Interest Shows the Way



Although HOAs can be a tough solar nut to crack, one management company is helping some associations in California go solar. Common Interest Management shows how to win an HOA’s solar heart.


The Homeowners Association (HOA) Board of Directors for the Dublin Ranch Golf Course (DRGC) in California had a problem. How could they control the $21,000/year operating costs for its 140,000-gallon pool with surrounding lighting? And how could they provide shade for the large concrete deck surrounding the pool?

You can guess the answer they found.

The association’s management company, Common Interest Management Services, Inc., helped the DRGC Board answer both questions with one addition to their property: a solar shade system. The installation consists of over 100 solar panels with microinverters, mounted on two separate trellis systems.


The board of directors also converted the old lighting system to LED throughout the complex to dramatically lower energy consumption. The upshot? The association is saving over $25,000 a year for the life of the system.  


HOAs can be a tough solar nut to crack. Getting anything to happen in an HOA requires agreement among various parties, and politics can be intense. But that’s changing as HOAs see the economic value of solar. And management companies can help.


Common Interest Management Services, in close cooperation with various San Francisco Bay Area boards of directors, has successfully supported the implementation of five major solar PV systems over the past several years. That’s unusual among management companies. Most are not as forward-thinking and proactive in exploring these kinds of solutions.


In each solar PV implementation, HOA boards of directors were interested in lowering long-term energy costs. Rising power costs are having unpredictable effects on association budgets each year.  


It’s important for a management company to help HOAs navigate the process of going solar. The Common Interest team does this by helping boards of directors to:


  1. Understand the current costs for power and energy.

  2. Identify the potential savings implementing a solar PV system.

  3. Source several vendors and solutions for system design and implementation.

  4. Follow procedures and protocols to engage the membership for a vote.

  5. Evaluate financing options to manage current assessments without increases.

  6. Support the project implementation and timelines.

  7. Ensure ongoing measurement and maintenance of system performance.


“Our team of Community Managers is determined to help our board of directors to find innovative ways to cut expenses to manage or lower monthly assessments. Our joint work with some of our most progressive board of directors to adopt solar PV systems has resulted in outsized savings for those associations. We look forward to sharing our experience and expertise with all of our clients to help them to consider the fit of these solar systems at their own associations,” said Mike Archer, CEO, Common Interest Management Systems.