After a couple of quiet post-subsidy years for the solar PV sector, Fisher German is once again working with a growing number of landowners taking advantage of large solar park developments – and we anticipate demand for our advisory services to grow even further as a new report predicts that the industry is set to double in size by 2030.
Solar Energy UK, an association representing the entire solar and energy storage value chain, has released a report which sets out a plan to deliver the 40GW of operational capacity needed by the end of the decade for the UK to remain on track for a net-zero carbon economy. It predicts that the delivery will see the industry double in size, creating 13,000 new jobs, £17bn in additional economic activity, and a 4.7 per cent cut in total UK carbon emissions.
Our sustainable energy team has seen a shift away from the smaller solar parks developed with subsidy, working now on sites which are typically 150-acres plus in scale as developers switch their attention to delivering Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) which are substantial and can produce significantly more electricity.
These vast projects often involve working directly with National Grid rather than the Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) to gain a more sizeable electrical connection before assembly of the land takes place.
Head of Sustainable Energy, Darren Edwards, said: “Our team remains at the forefront of advising landowners on solar projects across the UK, ensuring they are getting the very best deal for their land. With mounting pressure to decarbonise our energy supplies, solar PV is an increasingly important part of countries energy mix not only because of the amount of power it supplies to the grid but also its reliability. The incorporation of battery storage technology alongside solar is not only enhancing its benefit to the grid but also its value to the operator.”
Senior Associate, Harry Edwards, added: “Solar is an industry which has steadily been building momentum again and we don’t see it slowing down, as the report suggests. There’s demand for more electricity and it’s got to be green. Although solar is intermittent, like other forms of renewable energy, it plays its part alongside other sources. Our market experience and the current trends we are seeing are mirrored in the report, and there has certainly been a mood-shift with developers moving away from smaller solar parks and looking towards creating vast 400MW to 500MW projects.
“This is because they are no longer limited by subsidy rules and although NSIPs must be approved by the Secretary of State, the government is now pro-green power and working towards net zero making them more achievable. As a result, we are working with an increasing number of landowners taking advantage of large solar park and energy storage developments, and there are even more in the pipeline. They represent a fantastic diversification opportunity for farmers looking for alternative ways of generating additional income, particularly as the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) phases out over the coming years until it is eventually closes in 2027. They also present opportunities for the industrial and commercial sectors which are very much driven by government targets as they look to reduce their carbon footprints in the move towards net zero.”
Darren concluded: “The sustainable energy team at Fisher German has been successfully advising clients on energy projects for well over 20 years. We have the industry expertise to support landowners to ensure that they get the best deal in relation to solar parks and energy storage projects and, if the Solar Energy UK report is right, we are looking forward to being busier than ever over the next decade.”
Anyone seeking advice about solar projects is welcome to get in touch with our expert team to find out more about the opportunities available to them.