For Landowners- Who Removes the Solar Panels After my Lease?

March 23, 2023

If you're considering solar panels, here is the solar panel leasing process explained!

Your property is important to you and a renewable energy lease is a great way to make extra income off of your prized land. But before you sign an agreement to lease land for a solar farm, make sure you address any future concerns that may crop up with respect to your property. Many landowners wonder who is responsible for removing the heavy equipment on their land and restoring it to the way it was before the solar lease began. Will they be stuck with lugging all the heavy equipment off of their parcel when the solar lease term is up? No, and here’s why.

The Solar Cleanup Phase – Solar Panel Removal

The solar leasing process can be divided into four phases – the development phase, the construction phase, the operations phase, and the decommissioning phase, also known as the cleanup phase. The answer to this question involves the cleanup phase. At the conclusion of the lease term, which normally lasts around 25 years, the solar developer is responsible for the removal of solar panels and the decommissioning of all equipment and materials related to the solar project. This is true whether the lease expires or is terminated. Equipment not only includes the solar panels on your land, but also racking materials, wiring, inverters, and fencing.

The landowner should not be responsible for removing any of this equipment in order to restore their land to its pre-lease condition. The cleanup phase can take up to 12 months following the solar lease end date and signifies the official conclusion of the project. You can see an example below from a solar lease agreement LandGate uses with our clients and you can view a sample of a full solar lease option here. You’ll notice section 17 of this lease deals with the “Removal of the Project.” This clause specifies that the lessee must sever, disconnect, and remove the project and all of the lessee’s property from the landowner’s property and restore the property to its original condition. It also cites that the developer, not the lessee, is responsible for any costs associated with the removal efforts.

Extract from a solar lease agreement covering solar panel removal

LandGate Will Guide You or Your Real Estate Agent Through the Solar Leasing Process

It is crucial to ensure your lease addresses post-project cleanup. Keep in mind that every lease is different and it’s important to understand the details of your lease before signing official paperwork. Listing your land for solar panels with LandGate means you won’t have to go through the solar leasing process alone. When you choose to list with Expert Help, LandGate’s solar experts will assist you in understanding the solar land lease you are signing and getting any questions you might have answered. If you want to simply find out what your land could be worth for a solar lease, you can claim your property on LandGate to get your Solar LandEstimate™.