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What are solar easements in the Sunshine State?

On Behalf of | Dec 16, 2020 | Land Use and Zoning | 0 comments

Working through the due diligence of a newly acquired property requires a thorough investigation of lands within and without the zone in question. Throughout Florida, property easements affect how land development can or cannot proceed. 

This makes sense with tangible easements like utility-owned power lines and water pipes, but what about sunlight? Do you have to worry that your development plans shake up the path of light itself? The short answer is yes, sometimes. 

Sunlight in the Sunshine State

Landowners own air space above their property provided their land-use utilizes it. For people building a hotel, they have a lot of air to build up into. For solar power though, sunlight happens at various angles over a single day. 

Florida provides protections for anyone that benefits from solar power. When comprehensively defined, according to the state’s statutes, a solar easement maintains exposure for solar energy devices. 

What this means for you and anyone developing purchased land is that building anything that blocks sunlight at the specific vertical and horizontal angles specified in the easement is illegal without an agreement between you and the owner of the solar device. 

Options for agreement

Since solar energy provides power and therefore potential monetary savings, blocking that sunlight with a tall building, billboard or other structure may impact the owner’s income. A solar easement may stipulate what kind of compensation it requires should anything interfere with the sunlight. 

In other cases, it may be useful to propose an amendment to the owner’s easement. For all these details, it is useful to leverage your resources to make sure that your plans go off without a hitch — without also interfering with established solar easements. 

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