Senior Renewables Consultant, John Farquhar, has reported a surge in interest from farmers looking to take advantage of this ‘low-risk, high reward’ investment. He explained that traditionally, solar panels would return around 5p/kWh exported to the grid, but over the last three months, in response to rising electricity prices, he has seen this increase to over 15p/kWh.
He said: “Over the last three months our team has been receiving five to ten calls a week from farmers enquiring about solar PV installations. With the export tariff rate unlikely to drop for the foreseeable future, farmers could make their money back within two to three years, whereas before they would have been looking at around seven years.
“Solar installations are very straightforward from a planning point of view, and we would suggest looking at roof-mounting panels on sheds. Dairy farmers have traditionally been very quick to invest in solar, due to often high refrigeration costs, but we are seeing a spike in interest from livestock farms with lower input costs, looking to take advantage of selling electricity back into the grid.”
Poultry farmer John Seed of Woodend Farming Partnership invested in a 75kW solar roof-mount on his farm in July this year, which he explained has offset power costs by at least £27,000 a year.
“We started investigating solar as a way to reduce costs and cut our carbon emissions that had been identified in the carbon audit we did with SAC Consulting, using Agrecalc, last year,” he said.