What is a Solar Easement?

 When considering solar installation, property owners should consider future obstruction of sunlight to their site.  In most cases, existing zoning regulations will provide the property owner with knowledge of any potential issues with sunlight access.  However, zoning restrictions may not always be enough to protect a solar project’s future access to direct sunlight.  If this is the case, a solar easement may be created between adjoining properties.  Solar easements are permitted in most states.  Property owners with solar systems already in place can negotiate with neighbors and create a solar easement to prevent future shading.

A solar easement is defined by Wikpedia as “a right, expressed as an easement, restriction, covenant, or condition contained in any deed, contract, or other written instrument executed by or on behalf of any landowner for the purpose of assuring adequate access to direct sunlight for solar energy systems.” 

Wikpedia also states: A typical solar easement establishes certain land use conditions agreed upon by the property owners involved.  Such agreements will normally contain the following elements:

  • A description of the dimensions of the easement, including vertical and horizontal angles measured in the degrees or the hours of the day, on specified dates, during which direct sunlight to a specified surface or structural design feature may not be obstructed.
  • Restrictions placed upon vegetation, structures and other objects which may impair or obstruct the passage of sunlight through the easement.
  • The terms and conditions, if any, under which the easement may be revised or terminated