You just paid thousands of dollars for a beautiful array of solar panels. Clean, cheap, efficient energy here you come.
As you think about the money you are going to save, you notice your neighbor planting sycamore trees along your shared property line. Sure, the trees are small now, but they will grow, and grow quickly. Soon your solar array will be enjoying the cool summer shade. Your neighbor smiles and waves. Your investment? Gone. Your savings? Gone. Your relationship with your neighbor you once thought was a good guy? Also gone.
Thousands of residents (and businesses too) are moving to solar. And for good reason. Solar offers an array of benefits, including energy savings, incentives and tax breaks, clean, renewable energy, and increased home/building value.
Often overlooked, however, is the need to protect your solar panels with a recorded easement agreement. Property owners do not have a right to light or the sun on their property. So unless you have an easement agreement to access the light or sun, or there is an ordinance, regulation or restrictive covenant restricting your neighbors’ use of their land, your neighbors can block your solar panels at any time.
Utah, like other states, allows residents and businesses to protect their solar investment through a solar easement agreement. To be valid, the solar easement must be in writing and filed, recorded, and indexed at the county recorder’s office. The writing must: (1) describe the property benefitting from the easement; (2) describe the property that will be burdened by the easement; (3) describe the easement being granted; (4) state the terms or conditions of the easement (e.g., compensation provided for the easement, how the easement may be terminated, etc.); and (5) state any other necessary or desirable provisions.
If you are investing in solar for your home, get a solar easement agreement in place. Don’t rely on your neighbor’s promise to not block your panels. Neighbors move, people change, life happens. If you have an easement agreement, you (and any future purchaser of your home) are protected.
Need help getting started? Give me a call.