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Commercial Litigation Energy and Natural Resources

Does a Roof’s Warranty Remain Effective Under Solar Panels?

The growing interest in alternative fuel sources may be a boon for property owners seeking new ways to generate profits and savings. But care should be taken when a roof is the proposed site of a solar-panel installation, whether managed by a property owner or by a lessee.

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Editor’s Note: The growing interest in alternative fuel sources may be a boon for property owners seeking new ways to generate profits and savings. A landowner might install solar panels on a warehouse roof and operate them to produce free energy, selling any excess electricity to the local electric company. But other money-making arrangements can also be made. For example, a landowner might lease roof space (or a parking lot or adjacent unused empty lot) to a solar power producer who would install its own solar panels, manage their production of energy, and reap any profits therefrom. A third arrangement is a sort of hybrid of the two, called a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). Under a PPA, the landlord leases roof space to another party, which installs and runs the operation but then sells some of the electricity that is generated back to the landlord, at an agreed-upon rate that is lower than what the local utility company would charge. All of these options may look like win-win situations, but, as the author of the following article explains, care should be taken when a roof is the proposed site of a solar-panel installation, whether managed by a property owner or by a lessee.

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