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An enterprising farm in Derbyshire is expanding its business to include a gas generator scheme - as sustainable energy experts advise that there are still opportunities for those looking to diversify.

A gas generator scheme is being installed at Twin Yard Farm, outside Alfreton, that will produce and supply electricity to the grid at peak times, adding a further income stream to the farm business. The farm had a wind turbine installed in 2016 and then a 25 acre solar park in 2017, with the generator marking its third energy project. The mixed arable and livestock farm is run by Dave Holling and family, who purchased the business 52 years ago.

Specialist property agency and sustainable energy expert Fisher German has been acting for the farm for 20 years, providing advice and support to the family on diversification opportunities, farm management and telecoms projects on their land.

Building work is underway on the gas generator scheme, which will see a modern new building replace an old hay and straw barn on the farm which was coming to the end of its life. Dave said: “Diversifying our farm with renewables projects has transformed our income and means that we no longer have to rely solely on farming to bring in revenue.Our agents have expertise in a wide field, and we have been able to work with them on the wind, solar and gas generator projects.”

Harry Edwards, of Fisher German, said that there are still sustainable energy opportunities for those looking to diversify. He said: “Many people assume that with the retraction of subsidies sustainable energy opportunities are no longer an option for diversification projects, however this is not the case. There are projects such as gas gen-set schemes and battery storage facilities, as well as large scale solar PV now able to stand up without subsidies, that can provide healthy additional incomes to farms.

As farming faces uncertain times, with the market growing increasingly cautious because of Brexit, these kinds of projects can provide important revenue streams for farms. Deals can see farmers not only receiving a base rent but also a percentage of the revenue when there are particularly sunny or windy years, or the price of electricity rises. Twin Yard Farm has seen huge benefits from renewable energy projects, receiving a rent for each project from separate tenants.

Building work is currently underway on the gas generator scheme which will not only produce energy and further income, but see a modern new building constructed on the farm, for the benefit of the Holling family when the lease comes to an end.”

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