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Easements and Drainage Agreements ON AND NEAR Solar Projects

By: J. Richard Emens and Cody Smith
Emens, Wolper, Jacobs & Jasin Law Firm

An often overlooked potential problem with Solar projects is crop field drainage.  Since Solar development is still a relatively new source of generating electricity in Ohio, most landowners who want a solar lease focus on increased revenue and do not consider drainage of the land.  Most landowners who have property adjacent to a field with solar panels and don’t like the solar project will object based on glare and noise issues.  But, a major problem may arise because what is planted (or not planted) on the solar project is different from the usual corn, beans, wheat crops – – which can change the flow of rain water and cause drainage problems on the solar project AND on adjacent or nearby land.

It is very important that landowners of land adjacent TO or NEAR a solar project attempt to reach agreement and obtain easements with the solar company regarding dealing with drainage patterns, ditches, drain tile and other water flow issues.  Our experience is that reputable solar companies will welcome working out easements or other agreements with adjacent landowners so that drainage issues can be amicably resolved in the early stages of solar project planning.