Decommissioning Provisions

The solar developer will try to ignore and/or downplay the decommissioning issue.  In reality, this is a very important issue for counties considering an application to build a  solar power plant.  It has to be dealt with NOW, so that you all are not stuck with thousands of acres of solar panels just sitting there 20 or 30 years from now.

 

Decommissioning occurs when the power plant is no longer economic to operate and maintain, or when it is abandoned.  A decommissioning plan specifies what has to happen when the power plant is no longer operating.

The Scope of the Decommissioning Plan

  • To protect the Taxpayers

  • The Bond must adequately cover all the costs.

  • If it doesn’t, the LLC owner will simply walk away.

  • If the LLC owner is leasing the land, then the landowner becomes responsible for the costs.

  • If the landowner can’t cover the costs and turns the site over to the County, then the County becomes responsible.

  • Therefore, the County has no incentive to lowball the Bond amount.

Main Purpose for a Substantial Bond

  • To protect the Taxpayers

  • The Bond must adequately cover all the costs.

  • If it doesn’t, the LLC owner will simply walk away.

  • If the LLC owner is leasing the land, then the landowner becomes responsible for the costs.

  • If the landowner can’t cover the costs and turns the site over to the County, then the County becomes responsible.

  • Therefore, the County has no incentive to lowball the Bond amount.

 

Estimating the Cost of Decommissioning

The engineer who does this estimating must be carefully selected.   

  • The cost estimate must be certified by an independent qualified engineer.  This means that all quantities are correctly specified and the costs verified.

  • The solar developer will want to keep the costs as low as possible, so the solar developer should not be doing the cost estimate.

  • The cost estimate should not include scrap values, since no one knows the value of scrap 20 to 30 years hence.   

  • The County needs a 15% contingency to be included in the cost estimate to protect itself.    

Help us protect agricultural-forestry zoned land from large, industrial-scale solar developments