(KLIX) – A bill that would better align Idaho law with homeowners’ rights to own solar panels has passed in committee and now heads to the Senate floor for a vote.

House Bill 158 was passed Monday by the Senate State Affairs Committee. The proposed legislation is jointly sponsored by a Republican lawmaker and a Democrat.

“The current law ignores important innovations in solar panel technology,” co-sponsor Ilana Rubel, D-Boise, said in a statement. The other sponsor is Rep. Randy Armstrong, R-Inkom.

Rubel said Homeowners Associations (HOAs) in the past have restricted the use of solar panels because they were considered ugly, but they're not so obtrusive anymore.

“Now, solar panels are nearly undetectable to the naked eye," she said, noting that Idaho needs to catch up with other states in the West that have already passed similar legislation that allows owners in HOAs to be able to use solar power.

“Homeowners deserve the right to make choices about their energy consumption,” she said. “After working closely with HOAs and industry, we have developed legislation that restores homeowners’ rights to make their own decisions about solar panels.

“I am extremely encouraged by the overwhelming support the legislation has seen in the House and Senate, so far. I hope that the Senate floor will prioritize homeowners rights in the same way other legislators have.”

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