Skip to main content

Decommissioning Utility-Scale Solar Facilities

Read the report
Utility-scale solar in field

A Report: Decommissioning Utility-Scale Solar Facilities

Read the Decommissioning Utility-Scale Solar Facilities Report


This report seeks to offer a practical inventory of regulatory options which localities can adjust based on a utility-scale solar project’s characteristics. The author analyzes decommissioning best practices with respect to context-appropriate site removal and land restoration regulations, legal protections for the locality, financial assurance mechanisms and posting methods, and adjustments to decommissioning security which account for inflation, any administrative factor, and salvage credit. Decommissioning regulations required by state law are distinguished from those which a locality may enforce at its discretion.

This analysis evaluates several local policy strategies for managing utility-scale solar decommissioning in the Commonwealth of Virginia: 

  1. Establishing an effective decommissioning ordinance; 
  2. Defining a legal framework to enforce decommissioning; 
  3. Requesting appropriate forms of financial assurance; and 
  4. Factoring salvage credit, inflation, and administrative costs. 

This paper distinguishes among (i) the decommissioning regulations a locality must enforce, as required by state law, (ii) those which the county or city has the authority to enforce at its discretion, and (iii) discretionary regulations which are recommended as best practice for the locality. An overview of the topics and recommendations of this paper is provided below.


Virginia Solar Initiative

Explore additional solar resources