The Energy Crisis might have focused all of our attention in terms of costs but the source of the energy is certainly a hot topic, indeed the Renewable energy market is one of the world’s fastest growing industries and one that offers opportunities to many landowners, especially at a time when the farming landscape is changing. The timing of these opportunities for many landowners could be critical.
The UK’s solar sector has bounced back from the shock created by the ending of the country’s subsidies (FiTs and ROCs) during 2017/2018. Last year we saw a huge development of UK solar which resulted in over 1GW installed and commissioned, this is of course still some way short of the target of 40GW of installed solar by the start of 2030, but it’s a start.
We are getting an ever-increasing number of clients contacting us for advice and help as they have been approached by a developer(s) wanting to take land for a solar farm. Sadly it’s not quite as easy as some developers and site finders might lead you to believe, there are a number of constraints and issues that prevent all land being suitable for solar, this brief note is too short to go into those points but one thing to highlight is that it’s vital that, before you sign anything, you take professional advice and ensure that the developer has clearly investigated the capacity of the local network and the possible lead-in time for connection. It’s also important to make sure that the agreement includes an undertaking that legal and agent’s professional fees are covered by the developer from the start. Otherwise, if the scheme does not go ahead the landowner could end up paying the professional costs.
We have acted for clients on solar farms ranging from 3MW small private wire schemes covering 10 acres up to 50MW sites. We are also advising clients on a number of Battery Energy Storage Sites (BESS). Both Solar and BESS offer a longer-term lease with commercial rents that could provide significant income to secure a farming business or indeed allow the farming business and landowners to look at other alternatives. In short, whilst the energy crisis and increased cost is not welcome, the Carbon and Net Zero aims will benefit a significant number of landowners – will you be one of them?