A Survey of Federal and State-Level Solar System Decommissioning Policies in the United States

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


In the United States, cumulative installed utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity reached more than 60 gigawatts (GW)dc at the end of 2020 (Davis et al. 2021b). Federal and state renewable energy and net-zero emissions policies will continue to drive solar development in the United States with installed utility-scale PV projected to quadruple (240 GWdc) by 2030 (Davis et al. 2021a; Heeter 2014). Although more than 75% of all U.S. installed utility-scale PV came online in the last 5 years, federal, state, and local governments are planning for system decommissioning (Davis et al. 2021b). Our research found that as of April 2021, one federal agency, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and 15 U.S. states have solar decommissioning policies in place. North Carolina is also in the process of drafting solar decommissioning regulations, and at least 4 states (Maine, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Texas) proposed solar decommissioning bills in the 2021 legislative session. This report provides a survey and brief overview of both federal and U.S. statewide solar decommissioning policies, and a discussion of some of the potential impacts different policy designs may have on utility-scale solar development, including impacts that might influence construction timelines and over project costs.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages55
StatePublished - 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A20-79650


  • circular economy
  • decommissioning
  • policies
  • regulatory requirements
  • solar
  • sustainable


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