Harvesting the sun—closing down a solar farm

Harvesting the sun—closing down a solar farm


What are the legal considerations when decommissioning a solar farm site? Sonya Bedford, partner and head of the renewable energy team at Stephens Scown Solicitors, explains how lawyers can assist in creating an appropriate decommissioning strategy.

Should solar farms be built with a decommissioning strategy in mind?

Yes. Planning will often state that the site is to be decommissioned if it is no longer generating electricity. The planning permissions are temporary, so it is vital that decommissioning is dealt with at the outset.

To date, local planning authorities have not been very specific about what form a decommissioning strategy should take. However, overall, any strategy needs to ensure that the site is fully restored to its former state. A schedule of conditions needs to be prepared at the beginning of the lease, and the strategy needs to ensure the complete removal of all equipment to a depth of one metre underground. Bonds should be put in place to cover the costs of removing the site, because taking the structures down will be ex

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