Island Walk Community homeowner fights to install solar roof

Reporter: Rachel Cox-Rosen
Published: Updated:
Frank Zhou plans to sue his HOA after they rejected his plan to install solar panels on his roof. (CREDIT: WINK News)

Frank Zhou remembers Hurricane Irma well.

He wants to be ready for the next time Southwest Florida takes a direct hit and wants to install a whole solar roof.

“It was miserable, especially with kids. We have two kids and you cannot cook, no AC at night,” Zhou said. “With a solar roof, you can have all the power you need!”

But there’s a catch. His Island Walk Community Home Owner’s Association said no. In a rejection letter, the board said it’s got a problem with the color, tile, and shingles for the roof.

“I thought it’s really backward,” Zhou said. “I mean this is the future if you look at the statistics, studies, all that stuff. People are going to have maybe 90% electric cars in 20 years.”

Zhou said he believes the board is breaking the law.

There is a statute that prevents HOA’s from flat out denying homeowners from putting up solar collectors or other energy devices based on renewable resources.

Attorney Mark Adamcyzk said Zhou has a case but it’s not a slam dunk.

“It’s a balancing act with the HOA’s right to protect the overall appearance of the community,” Adamcyzk said. “If someone, in general, wants to put up solar collectors within a location on the roof that allows them to operate with reasonable efficiency, the HOA cannot outright say no.”

Zhou said he plans to sue.

The Island Walk HOA Board president said he hopes to talk to Zhou and come to a compromise.

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