Solar and Wind Easements

Program Solar and Wind Easements
Category Regulatory Policy
Implementing sector State
Last Update
State Montana
Website http://deq.mt.gov/Energy/Renewable/NetMeterRenew.mcpx
Technologies Solar - Passive, Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Solar Thermal Electric, Solar Thermal Process Heat, Solar Photovoltaics
Sectors Residential

Montana's solar and wind easement provisions allow property owners to create solar and wind easements for the purpose of protecting and maintaining proper access to sunlight and wind. Solar easements should be negotiated with neighboring property owners. Montana's solar easement law was enacted in 1979; the wind easement law was originally enacted in 1983. 

In April 2011, the provisions related to wind easements were repealed by House Bill 295 (2011) and replaced with more extensive wind easements provisions. This legislation defines wind energy rights as property rights and specifies that real property owners can enter into an agreement to grant a wind easement to give wind energy developers the right to use real property and the wind resource located on or flowing over the real property to develop a project. The agreement details provisions such as requirements that the property owner "ensure the undisturbed flow of wind on and over the real property", tax liability related to wind equipment, and compensation to the property owner. A property owner can either enter into a wind energy agreement or a wind option agreement. The former is the document that contains the wind easement and the latter is a document where a property owner grants a developer the exclusive right to obtain a wind easement.  Wind option agreements generally only last for 20 years, unless extended. The wind easement that is created runs with the property.

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