Solar, wind and hydro developments could be the future of your farm, Partner A-J Monro updates on changes to the existing solar scheme, and guidance for new renewable schemes
When Feed in Tariffs ceased to be in April 2019 it was considered likely that this would be the end of large-scale solar projects – however solar has started to progress again, with a call for new sites from a select few companies.
Previously under Feed in Tariffs or FiT’s as they were known, with the level of tariff reducing each year this placed an urgency on developers to get a solar park exporting electricity prior to the next 1st of April deadline in order to qualify for the best available tariff level. With FiT’s having now been brought to an end, the deadline date now no longer exists providing developers a longer period to work on getting the right plan, for the right project on the right site.
The benefit to landowners is that previously, unless you were a very good site with a high chance of getting consent, you would be unlikely to get past an initial discussion. Now, with more time to play with and thereby less urgency, lesser sites which might have issues such a planning or connection constraints can be considered as there is time to get the project right.
With regard to payments, due to the disappearance of FiT’s, projects are generating less income so naturally, rents have dropped – however if terms are properly negotiated, utilising a mechanism by which the landowner receives a base rent, or a % of Gross Revenue (which ever is higher) it gives the landowner the opportunity to benefit from an increased rental income if an extremely sunny year is experienced. In the circumstance that technology improves and the panels themselves are replaced with more efficient units, thereby generating more electricity and increasing the overall Gross Revenue amount this will provide a higher income to the landowner through the % of Gross Revenue mechanism.
If you have a site which you consider would be suitable for Solar, please do get in touch. Ideally, we are looking for sites which are between 70 and 300acres and have electricity cables or a substation within one mile. The site should be located on flat or slightly south facing sloping land, preferably the site should not be good productive agricultural land and would be located away from residential areas with good hedging to its boundaries.
Similarly, if you are approached by a developer who has identified a potential solar, wind or hydro site on your land, we strongly urge you to contact us at the early stages of discussions; renewables may offer an often substantial, lucrative source of income to your farming business, but contracts are complex and we can ensure you secure the best deal for you. Contact A-J Monro on 01202 882103 or , find our Environmental and Renewables services here.