Solar Farming - Am I too quick to dismiss?

agricrop

Member
Location
Shropshire
Hello, today I have been approached by a company wanting an area my land plus land of neighbouring farms to install a solar farm. From what I gather I'm among the 8% of land in my area suitable for solar farming.
Figures from £500, £750 per acre rental seem to have been suggested today.
To me this doesn't seem a lot of money to loose 25% ish of my irrigatable arable land for 25 years given I need a 1 in 5 minimum rotation for my spuds. My business is relatively small however stable and profitable and I've got many years of farming ahead of me.
Am I mad to dismiss so quickly? Or am I missing something?
Would I not be better building my own solar farm on a slightly smaller scale?
Anyone else been in this situation?

Thanks in advance
 
Hello, today I have been approached by a company wanting an area my land plus land of neighbouring farms to install a solar farm. From what I gather I'm among the 8% of land in my area suitable for solar farming.
Figures from £500, £750 per acre rental seem to have been suggested today.
To me this doesn't seem a lot of money to loose 25% ish of my irrigatable arable land for 25 years given I need a 1 in 5 minimum rotation for my spuds. My business is relatively small however stable and profitable and I've got many years of farming ahead of me.
Am I mad to dismiss so quickly? Or am I missing something?
Would I not be better building my own solar farm on a slightly smaller scale?
Anyone else been in this situation?

Thanks in advance
they want the land ,you call the shots

how big a system are they thinking of installing?

10% of the income might be more?
 

agricrop

Member
Location
Shropshire
They want 100+ acres in total over a couple of farms.
Not heard anything about income other than land rental. The chap was rather too vague in my opinion, turning up with a poor quality map and no literature!
 

agricrop

Member
Location
Shropshire
Me too seems such a shame on good land. All for putting solar on my buildings. Other things to consider like public opinion affecting marketing and sales, wildlife on farm, way of life.. etc
The easy way is not always the best way.
 

mikelaluz

Member
Location
Cheshire
Hi Agricrop

From your location I would expect the offers to be £800 - 900 per acre so you are very much on the low side. However much is dependent upon access to overhead lines / substation.

My advice is don't jump at the first offer and remember there is plenty of cash available to finance solar farms so you may well have more options than you think.

Give me a call if you want to talk through some options

Regards

Mike
 

DX 3.90

Member
Location
Shropshire
Hello, today I have been approached by a company wanting an area my land plus land of neighbouring farms to install a solar farm. From what I gather I'm among the 8% of land in my area suitable for solar farming.
Figures from £500, £750 per acre rental seem to have been suggested today.
To me this doesn't seem a lot of money to loose 25% ish of my irrigatable arable land for 25 years given I need a 1 in 5 minimum rotation for my spuds. My business is relatively small however stable and profitable and I've got many years of farming ahead of me.
Am I mad to dismiss so quickly? Or am I missing something?
Would I not be better building my own solar farm on a slightly smaller scale?
Anyone else been in this situation?

Thanks in advance
@agricrop it sounds like you had the chap same visit as we did! The info seems a bit vague and the £'s too low, if the fiance is available it would make a lot more sense to do it yourself. I think the figures are around £5m for a 30ac install, then your return is approx 6p FIT and 6p green power so income of around £600k/yr! These are rough figures I've managed to dig up so not gonna be 100% correct. Trying to find exact details is fairly muddy waters, but if correct you could easily buy more land to make up for what area the solar would cover.
 

mikelaluz

Member
Location
Cheshire
@agricrop it sounds like you had the chap same visit as we did! The info seems a bit vague and the £'s too low, if the fiance is available it would make a lot more sense to do it yourself. I think the figures are around £5m for a 30ac install, then your return is approx 6p FIT and 6p green power so income of around £600k/yr! These are rough figures I've managed to dig up so not gonna be 100% correct. Trying to find exact details is fairly muddy waters, but if correct you could easily buy more land to make up for what area the solar would cover.

You're pretty much on the money 6.6p FIt and you can currently achieve 6.2 pence for Export.

The only downside is the initial up front planning / environment reports costs etc that can be expensive and may prove to be deal breakers. It's worth using the company who approached you as they must have some ideas around planning in your area
 
Hello, today I have been approached by a company wanting an area my land plus land of neighbouring farms to install a solar farm. From what I gather I'm among the 8% of land in my area suitable for solar farming.
Figures from £500, £750 per acre rental seem to have been suggested today.
To me this doesn't seem a lot of money to loose 25% ish of my irrigatable arable land for 25 years given I need a 1 in 5 minimum rotation for my spuds. My business is relatively small however stable and profitable and I've got many years of farming ahead of me.
Am I mad to dismiss so quickly? Or am I missing something?
Would I not be better building my own solar farm on a slightly smaller scale?
Anyone else been in this situation?

Thanks in advance

Don't forget you loose SFP as it becomes commercial land not agricultural land. I believe some of the earlier systems mounted high up on big stands have got round this as you can graze underneath the frames so you only remove the area taken up by the frame stands on the SFP claim. However the current opinion from the land agents is that ground mounted is what installer want to fit due to easier planning permission.

At £1000/ac I think its borderline because ultimately that will get taxed at 50% and its no longer an agricultural asset so it messes with inheritance as well. Makes it even worse if you are already a diversified business as the element of 'ag earnings' would be decreased further and you must be able to argue to the revenue that the non ag income was used to 'supplement' the farm income and then justify why it was needed. There is a percentage split figure but not sure what it is off the top of my head.

I believe that for every acre of panel they produce 0.16 megawatts. The confusing bit is then turning that into kw and then I think into kWh which will then allow you to work out what they could sell the electricity generated at. Then the ROC subsidy was about £30 for every 1000kwh you generate, but this may have dropped a bit recently.
I was also told that the setup cost was about £150k/acre which included planning and grid connection etc.
 

Against_the_grain

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
S.E
£800/acre without getting out of bed in the morning, regardless of if its too wet or too dry, or if the wheat/OSR/potato price is poor, doesn't sound to bad to me...

Lee are you sure that it cant be classified as an ag asset? I reckon I could argue a fairly good case for any solar development enhancing my farming business/activities by supporting infastructure projects etc...For sure its a grey area atm
 
£800/acre without getting out of bed in the morning, regardless of if its too wet or too dry, or if the wheat/OSR/potato price is poor, doesn't sound to bad to me...

Lee are you sure that it cant be classified as an ag asset? I reckon I could argue a fairly good case for any solar development enhancing my farming business/activities by supporting infastructure projects etc...For sure its a grey area atm

No I'm am not sure at all, but I have sat in front of an expert that has turned a number of his cases into 'test cases' that are now referred to and that's what he said ...... And at the moment I believe him because nobody has 'tested' it!
 

Simon Glew

Member
Location
Leicestershire
you would have to have exceptional irradiation figures to achieve £1000k per acre, £800 is realistic
as a rule of thumb you need 5acres of land per meg of panels 1meg will cost just under 1 million pounds.

one question to ask is what happens to the system at the end of its life.Removing 100 acres of panels is not cheap, there are regulations already in place for this. you cant just throw them away it all needs recycling and it is costly.
 

agricrop

Member
Location
Shropshire
Thanks for all the reply's. Just got back from the Energy expo at Telford. Very informative and lots of different viewpoints. Many companies would be prepared to offer far more than the £695 offered by the returning rep on Tuesday. Land agents also told me to be wary of such middle men who will sell the deal on. Given I would have to try and buy or rent additional land with an adequate irrigation set-up (which is very hard to get hold of locally round here as maize seems to be taking over) to keep my existing business structure viable this quote seems laughable.

Many have said today it could be taxed at 50% as no longer in agricultural use.
Regarding the fields being left in a previous condition many companies said they drive piles into the ground. (How exactly are they removed?) Also not sure how this would affect my shallow drains in running sand. Don't think digging up a blocked drain in the middle of a row of solar panels would be easy? This could affect drainage from higher lying neighbouring fields.

On a positive side I hope to be investing in other energy sources very soon.
 

DrWazzock

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Lincolnshire
When people keep phoning up asking if we are interested in ground mounted solar panel array, without even checking to see if we are near 33 kV line, (we aren't), you have to wonder about the competence of the people pushing these schemes.

The same goes for wind turbines when we have unviable windspeed, easily verified by anybody online. They are wasting their own time and money before they have even started a project.

And when there does not seem to be the money to dredge rivers, pump flood water or protect people's homes, you have to wonder about the morality of subsidising these schemes with lashings of taxpayers money, often going to some of the wealthiest people in a district.

And if you want a small scheme they aren't interested. Plenty of subsidy milkers attracted to the pot. For the benefit of the environment, you must be joking, it's for the big bucks and the rake off.
 

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