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Who Removes the Solar Panels When My Lease is Up?

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

photograph of rows of solar panels with trees in the background

Your property is important to you, and a renewable energy lease is a great way to make extra income off of your prized land while retaining your ownership. But before you sign an agreement to lease your land for a solar farm, make sure to research and address any future concerns with respect to your property. Many landowners wonder who is responsible for removal of solar panels from their land after a solar lease ends. Will you be stuck with lugging all the heavy equipment off of your parcel when the solar lease term ends? 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, which is also known as the cleanup phase. The answer to this question involves the cleanup phase. At the conclusion of the lease term, which can range from 25 to 50 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. Equipment used for solar energy production not only includes the actual solar panels on your land, but also racking materials, wiring, inverters, and fencing. When the lease expires, or if it is terminated early, the solar company is required to restore the property back to its original condition pre-lease. The landowner is typically not responsible for removing any of the equipment 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 it signifies the official conclusion of the project. You can see an example of this from a solar lease agreement below, and you can view a sample of a full solar lease option here. You’ll notice that section 17 of this particular lease agreement mentions 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.

example of solar lease agreement clause of the removal of solar panels

It is crucial to ensure your lease agreement addresses post-project cleanup. Keep in mind that every lease is different, so it’s important to understand the details of your lease before signing official paperwork.

Interested in Leasing your Land for a Solar Farm?

LandGate can provide you with a free solar leasing estimate when you identify and Claim Ownership of your parcel on our map. You can use the Solar LandEstimate™ to help with your decision-making process, and Claiming Ownership of your parcel will provide you with the opportunity to create an optional listing on our website.


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