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How Do You Plan for Battery & Solar Panel Decommissioning?


How Do You Plan for Battery & Solar Panel Decommissioning?  | Green Clean Solar

When solar decommissioning plans are executed, all infrastructure is removed, including any components; meanwhile, the land is stabilized and revegetated to bring it back to its original state. Decommissioning regulations are localized, and there are various terms and lengths for determining when a site is abandoned and when official decommissioning must take place. All of these terms will be included in new large-scale solar installations.


For now, there are various reasons why early decommissioning may take place. In the circumstances we’ve crossed, the land ownership agreement had expired, so solar panels and batteries which still had life in them were sent to be refurbished and reused elsewhere, and those which couldn’t be reused were recycled.


Solar Decommissioning Plan

There are some key decommissioning considerations along the road map to a solid decommissioning plan, including:


Define when decommissioning will occur. Will decommissioning start at the end of the land lease, after the site has been inoperable for a certain period, once notice is given to the site owner?


Define the timeframe decommissioning efforts will require. Every project size and scope is different. To maintain agreement with local code, define the estimated timeframe necessary to return the land to previous conditions.


Define who is responsible for decommissioning. The party responsible for removal and restitution will need a plan and an agreement to commence decommissioning at the agreed-upon time.


Assign a responsible party to update the decommissioning plan if and when needed.


Remove all equipment, structures, and foundation, including piles, racking, batteries, and panels.


Final electrical inspection to ensure safe shutdown and record decommissioning.


Palletize and haul all solar panels, racking, etc. and hire a professional to remove and recycle them.


Secure evidence that the decommissioning plan was recorded with the Register of Deeds.


Restore land and return it to pre-solar development conditions.


What to include in a Solar Decomissning Plan?

With some templatized sections to start with, you can tailor your plan to your site.


Include an overview - or outline of the plan that highlights key deliverables and milestones f the plan.


Project description - location, equipment, infrastructure, utility, and nonutility equipment onsite. Here you will describe gates, substation details, security outfit, solar field details, Energy Storage Facility description, as well as the O&M plan.


Methodology - how the decommissioning party considers the execution of decommissioning. Will it recycle? How will materials be handled? Will landfill diversion, reuse, refurbishing, reselling, and recycling be prioritized? How will health and safety be considered? How will the soil be remediated?


Actionable Decommissioning Activities - A step-by-step plan of action for removal of equipment both above and below ground, substations, power storage, and all other roadside equipment, security, etc. This can be laid out in a bullet point from start to finish. In this section, there will also be a promise to submit official final steps to the permitting authority before decomissning commencement, in case anything changes. Here you will also layout:

  • Health and safety procedures (HASP)

  • Plan for decommissioning of project components

  • Method for PV equipment removal and recycling

  • Method for energy storage facility removal and recycling

Site Restoration Strategy

Finally, once all equipment is removed and refurbished or recycled, you will add the section about site closure and the restoration strategy. If the land requires recontouring, revegetation, etc., this will be included in the final section of the plan.


Solar Panel Palletizing and Recycling

Once electricians have completed their portion of the decommissioning project, ensuring all lines are safe to remove, solar panels can then be removed and palletized. If the panels are in working condition, they can be used at another location, for a community solar project, or sold for a discounted rate based on the life they have left. If the panels are broken or not repairable, plan for the recycling company that will handle them for you.

Some companies will pick up just the panels with certain parameters met; more full-service companies like Green Clean Solar will bring an entire team and the necessary equipment to accomplish all removal goals, leaving a pristine site.


Battery Storage Decommissioning

There is a massive wave of Lithium Storage Batteries set to be decommissioned. While there are facilities that will recycle them, some opt to store batteries while more advanced recycling developments are perfected. Green Clean Solar works to find the best solutions for your battery storage system based on size, type, and location. Valuable materials in the battery deserve recovery, and these are the recycling projections and materials from battery storage systems.


Total Lithium-ion batteries available for recycling by sector referenced in How Do You Plan for Battery & Solar Panel Decommissioning? | Green Clean Solar

Discarded Li-ion Batteries referenced in How Do You Plan for Battery & Solar Panel Decommissioning? | Green Clean Solar
Source: NREL

Solar Farm Decomissning Costs

The costs for decommissioning will vary by region, projects size, and complexity. The New York Solar Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) established a baseline for decommissioning costs on a 2MW system. The following graph.


Sample list of decommissioning tasks and estimated costs referenced in How Do You Plan for Battery & Solar Panel Decommissioning? | Green Clean Solar
Project estimation is based in the state of Massachusetts. Source: NYSERDA

When municipalities want to ensure decommissioning efforts are in place, it may require stating upfront costs for efforts that will increase the overall project price but are an honest look at the road ahead. Upfront planning is the norm now, as most projects won’t commence without decommissioning plans and budgets in place on the land agreement.


Contact Green Clean Solar for Decommissioning Consulting.

Whether you’re planning your decommissioning efforts now or need the removal of solar panels, batteries, etc., we are here to consult with you and support your decomissning efforts.


You remove it. We’ll haul it! Once your electricians have secured and detached equipment, we will have a team remove items from your site and reuse, recycle, condense and divert as much waste as possible.

Call or text - 770-229-7168

Email: easyclean@greenclean-solar.com



Resources

​​https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy22osti/83304.pdf

https://apa.ny.gov/Mailing/2021/05/LocalGov/NYSERDA-Decommissioning-Solar-Systems.pdf

https://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/2019/03/how-to-decommission-a-solar-array-and-why-its-important-to-plan-ahead/

https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy21osti/78678.pdf

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