Washington’s solar easement laws are similar to those in many other states. The law does not create an automatic right to sunlight. Rather, the law allows parties to enter into solar easement contracts voluntarily for the purpose of ensuring adequate exposure of a solar-energy system.
In April 2009, Washington enacted S.B. 5136, restricting homeowner’s associations from prohibiting the installation of solar energy panels. A homeowner’s association may issue guidelines related to visibility and aesthetic aspects of solar panel placement, but it may not prohibit a resident or owner from installing solar panels, provided that the solar panels meet certain criteria. Solar panels must meet local and state health and safety requirements. Solar water-heating systems must be SRCC certified (or certified by an equivalent national organization). Solar-electric systems must meet NEC, IEEE, and UL or other testing laboratory safety and performance standards.