This week the Washington State Department of Revenue issued a ruling which clarified that individual condominium owners are eligible to receive the production incentive for a solar array that occupies more than their portion of a roof, insofar as their home owner's association approves.
According to the Department, the key conditions are that the solar array must use a single meter and be limited to the roof of the building in which the owner resides.
The ruling came after Puget Sound Solar's Scott Lautensleger queried the DOR as to whether a client could "receive the Washington State production incentive if a portion of his array is installed on his roof, and the remainder installed on the roof adjoining his.
The DOR responded:
In the situation described we agree that the system owner (customer) is eligible to receive the production incentive as long as the solar system is placed on the communal roof of the customer’s condominium and not on an adjacent roof of another set of condominiums.
Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 458-20-273 (18) allows condominiums to qualify for the program with just one meter and as an example this subsection of the rule states in part:
Thus for example, in the case of a renewable energy system on a condominium with multiple owners, while such a system would not qualify as a community solar project, only one meter is needed to measure the system's gross generation and then each owner's share can be calculated by using each owner's percentage of ownership in the condominium building on which the system is located.
Here, the owner of a townhouse condominium will own his own system on his own roof but some of the modules, due to the size of the solar system, will be placed on a portion of the adjoining owner's roof with the permission of the Homeowner's Association. This system will qualify for certification into the renewable energy system cost recovery incentive program as a single-owned system.
While it was previously understood that DOR rules allowed condominium to jointly own an array tied to a single meter and share incentives based on their percentage of ownership in the building, the new ruling opens the door for individual condo owners to reap the benefits of solar even if their neighbors decline to join them.