We are currently advising landowners and farmers on a range of roof and ground mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) projects.
Solar PV is renewable energy’s fastest growing sector and prices have fallen two and half times since the introduction of the Feed in Tariffs. Solar PV is predicted to be the largest form of energy globally by 2050. In the UK, solar PV deployment has grown rapidly throughout 2014, 2015 and into 2016 , presenting a further diversification opportunity for landowners and farmers.
Tariff reductions have been offset by large falls in capital costs and therefore very attractive returns have been available in what is a long term investment, with a subsidy for 20 years. For a well sited solar PV system with an onsite electricity demand, solar PV deployment is still a good investment and a hedge against future electricity price rises. The equipment will last beyond the 20 year life of the tariff and continue to produce electricity.
Solar PV is a relatively simple technology to install, fund, maintain and operate provided you have:
- the system designed appropriately
- chosen the right technology using Tier 1 equipment
- gained planning permission for ground mounted solar PV
- a viable connection to the grid (or energy storage solution)
- a 3-phase connection for systems larger than 10kW (approximate)
- someone contracted to buy the unused electricity (with FITs you have export already guaranteed if you install an export meter)
- completed all of the above and completed the right paperwork to allow support under FIT or RHI
The tariffs are linked to the RPI, offering a long term and secure income stream. There is, however, a three monthly ‘degression’ rate applicable to the FITs and so often it is a race against the clock to commission solar projects in time.
Large scale ground mounted solar PV development in fields presents a unique opportunity for farmers and landowners with land suitable for a solar park. The market has evolved and currently developers are looking for high electricity users to sell the electricity to or otherwise large sites with cheap connections to the grid network.
Commercial scale solar PV is viable under the Renewables Obligation (RO); solar PV was eligible for 1.3 ROCS per MWh until 1 April 2016
Landowners with available and appropriate land should seek specialist surveyors’ advice for any Option and Lease agreement advice because they will be entering into a 25 to 30 year relationship and so it is important that the agreement is right! Do not sign an exclusivity agreement or a grid connection Letter of Authority without talking to us first; otherwise you could be tied into that solar company and we need to ensure you are with the right developer offering the best terms.
Our renewables team have experience and knowledge of negotiating these contracts, having negotiated over 60 solar parks throughout the country.
Fisher German are well positioned to offer some of the best professional advice on solar park deployment and help the development of your project. The developer will normally make a contribution or pay our surveyors' costs for advising you.
Assessing opportunities on your land
- Site promotion to bona fide developers
- Recommendation of our approved installers
- Financial forecasting
- Project management
- Planning advice
- Due diligence and valuation work
- Negotiating heads of terms for solar parks
Click here to read our latest renewable energy newsletter
Click above to see Mark Newton's July 2014 presentation to the CLA
Mark Newton , Head of Fisher German Renewables Sector, made the main presentation at the CLA Renewables Theatre at the Game Fair on 19 July 2014 on the current solar park market. He particularly pointed out the opportunities that most Landowners miss; by getting the grid connection and the solar park planning permission, for a 10MW solar park this can currently produce under the current regime of 1.4 ROCs per MW, a capital sum of in excess of £1million for a 10 MW solar park. The Landowner can continue to enjoy an annual rental of £800-1000 per acre per annum. This process can often be achieved in less than I year!