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What happens at the end of a solar project’s life cycle

What is Solar Decommissioning?

Solar decommissioning is the process of safely dismantling and removing solar panels, related equipment, and associated infrastructure at the end of their useful life. The decommissioning process may also involve site restoration, such as soil remediation and landscaping, to ensure that the site is returned to its original condition.


The Process of Solar Decommissioning

1. Plan

Prepared Before Operations
Established with local authorities, a plan for when the plant reaches the end of it's life cycle or must be relinquished.

2. Bond

Covering Removal Costs
When required, a bond will be posted to cover the costs of removal if the costs exceed the salvage value.

3. Restore

Land is Returned
All equipment, roads, and concrete will be removed and recycled. Substantially restoring the land.

What Types of Equipment are Decommissioned?

Proper decommissioning is essential to minimize any potential negative environmental impacts and ensure that the site can be reused or repurposed in the future.

Electrical Equipment

All decommissioning of electrical devices, equipment, and wiring in accordance with local, state and federal laws.

Module Collection and Recycling

All modules will be disconnected, removed, packaged and transported to a designated location for resale, recycling or disposal.

Concrete Pads

The concrete foundations and support pads will be broken up by mechanical equipment, loaded onto dump trucks, and removed from the site.

Roads and Parking Areas

All access roads and the parking areas will be removed to restore the land to its original condition unless the landowner chooses to retain them.

The Site Restoration Process

Site cleanup, re-grading to original contours and, if necessary, restoration of surface drainage swales and ditches will be undertaken to restore the site to substantially its previous condition. 


Any trenches or drain excavated for the project will be filled with suitable materials and leveled. 

Compacted Ground

Any compacted ground will be tilled, mixed with suitable sub-grade materials, and leveled.


Roads and parking areas will be removed completely, filled with suitable sub-grade material, and leveled.

Top Soil

Top soil will be spread as necessary to ensure suitable conditions for vegetation re-growth and reseeded with native seed mix to promote vegetation.


Decommission Costs & Security

Qcells will provide a detailed Decommissioning cost estimate, prepared by a Licensed Engineer, during the development process. We can properly plan and prepare for the decommissioning, even though it’s potentially 35 – 40 years away. Additionally, Qcells will provide an amount equal to the decommissioning cost estimate as security before the commercial operation of the project. 

Learn How Solar Decommission Works!