Farmers switch back from solar to wind

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News article

Farmers switch back from solar to wind

February 2011

renewable energy news

Enquiries for medium sized wind turbines are increasing following the Government’s announcement to review the Feed in Tariff (FIT) system.

The review which would directly affect the viability of technologies such as Solar PV installations over 50kW has made many farmers begin to look again at medium sized wind turbine projects.

When the FITs were originally introduced on the 1st April 2010, a huge amount of interest was generated for medium sized wind projects which would earn farmers £100,000 - £150,000 per annum per turbine. However due to the more complicated and controversial nature of planning, the whole process of building a turbine can take 1-2 years.

Mark Newton of Fisher German comments “Due to these planning implications and the original FITs being more favourable to solar, the last 6 months has seen interest shift to solar PV projects either small to medium scale on farm buildings or large solar parks on 25-30 acres of land”.

Mark continues “However the Government’s announcement to review solar projects over 50kWs has now put many projects on hold. A 50kW solar scheme is equivalent to one large farm building roof or two smaller ones. For larger farms or some farm businesses this will not produce all their energy needs as the sale of electricity from a 50kW solar project and FIT payments is only worth about £15,000 per annum”.

A farmer’s primary objective for renewable energy is clean and secure energy production. For a lot of farmers who cannot normally diversify on their farm, a renewable project is an ideal diversification, particularly in the hard pressed livestock sector.

Mark Newton continues “We are now receiving more wind energy phone calls since the possible restriction on solar projects was announced. As there is no restriction on the size of the wind projects in the FIT review, this can give a farmer the opportunity to have a wind turbine or turbines producing an income of £100,000+ per annum. This can solve many farmers energy requirements as well as supporting their pension.

Mark concludes “There are many tax benefits in wind energy. Tax relief under Annual Investment Allowances up to £100,000 per annum will be reduced after 2012 so only the remaining part of this financial year and next year remains. We have been approached by a number of successful arable farmers, who have benefited from high corn prices and are keen to reduce their tax bills by 40-50% by investing in wind turbines”.  

For further information, please contact Mark Newton on 01858 411246 or email mark.newton@fishergerman.co.uk.
 

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