The Law of Solar: A Guide to Business and Legal Issues

The Law of Solar: A Guide to Business and Legal Issues

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Key Contributors

Gary R. Barnum
Sara E. Bergan
Tamara L. Boeck
Seth D. Hilton
Jason Johns
Morten A. Lund
Jennifer H. Martin
Ronald D. McFall
Alan R. Merkle
Alex Mertens
Andrew P. Moratzka
Brian J. Nese
Joseph E. Nussbaum
Kevin T. Pearson
David T. Quinby
Bart W. Reed
Adam D. Schurle
Kennon Scott
Allison C. Smith
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Media Inquiries

  • Jamie Moss (newsPRos) Media Relations w. 201.493.1027 c. 201.788.0142
  • Bree Metherall Director of Business Development 503.294.9435

Welcome to the Law of Solar


Click here to download The Law of Solar - 5th Edition

Dear Member of the Solar Community,

The past few years have been transformational for the solar energy industry in the United States. Where previously solar energy was on the fringes of energy generation, it is now mainstream. Where previously solar energy accounted for only a tiny share of energy generation, it now generates a significant portion of the energy in many markets. Where previously solar energy was only for select regions, it is now found across the country. Where once solar energy was a political statement, it is now a sound financial decision.

The growth of the solar energy industry in America over the past several years has been phenomenal. Increased and expanded renewable portfolio standards have contributed to this growth, as has the sharply reduced price of solar modules.

As prices continue to drop, power buyers large and small have found solar energy to be an effective cost-saving measure. In more and more markets, solar energy has reached “grid parity” at the retail level, and is in the process of breaking that barrier at the wholesale level as well. Solar energy may be close to a major tipping point, which could lead to even more accelerated growth.

That is not to say that there have been no challenges. There has been resistance and counter-reactions, including proposed or enacted changes to net metering rules, solar-favorable tariff structures, and legal challenges. These efforts have left parts of the country far behind in the solar revolution, but they also create opportunities for future growth.

The sharp reduction in prices that has benefited customers and developers has been hard for manufacturers. Even as the industry as a whole has expanded, the past few years have been challenging for suppliers, and many once-familiar names are no longer present in the market. At the same time, a pricing battle is being fought with tariffs and trade sanctions, bringing our corner of the power industry to the forefront of international policy and politics.

But regardless of the larger politics and economics, we still must build projects one at a time, working within the real-world constraints and requirements. And solar energy projects, like other renewable generation projects, are subject to a plethora of real property issues, regulatory and permitting requirements, interconnection issues, power purchase negotiations, financing challenges, tax matters, and construction contracting.

Recognizing these challenges, and as part of our commitment to the growth and success of the renewable energy industry, in 2003 Stoel Rives developed its first publication in The Law of series. Today we are introducing a revised and updated fifth edition of The Law of Solar, the newest installment in our continuing efforts to provide easily accessible information for individuals and companies interested in growing America’s renewable energy resources. This guide contains insights we have gained from practical experience assisting participants in numerous solar energy projects covering a diverse range of sizes and installations, as well as our experiences serving the U.S. renewable energy industry.

We hope you find this guide useful. Please note that PDF versions of this document are available for downloading at no charge via our website,

Let us know how well it serves your needs—any suggestions or comments on how it could be improved are most welcomed. Also, you can follow our summaries of and comments on important developments in the industry through our Energy Law Alerts ( and in our Renewable + Law Blog (

Morten Lund
858-794-4103 (San Diego)

Download The Law of Solar - 5th Edition (PDF)

Key Contributors

See all contributors See less contributors

Media Inquiries

  • Jamie Moss (newsPRos) Media Relations w. 201.493.1027 c. 201.788.0142
  • Bree Metherall Director of Business Development 503.294.9435
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