Farmers Rush To Maximise The PV Investment

Now that the UK feed-in tariff is in place, UK farmers are set for some good news. As opposed to using their crop land for the installation of solar photovoltaic systems, they can use the often-large rooftop surfaces to generate renewable electricity. Econergy Europe is even specialised in fitting solar photovoltaic panels to asbestos roofing (learn more about our asbestos service).

By installing a roof mounted PV system, UK farmers have the potential to earn approximately £6,300 a year, saving over £4,000 in electricity bills, with income and savings anticipated by UK installer Econergy Europe to be more than £206,000 over 20 years. We estimte  the return on investment figure to be around 10-12% !

Solar PV systems up to 50kW can earn between 12.57 and 14.9p  per kilowatt hour (kW/h) of energy generated, depending on the size and type of installation, plus an extra 4.64p kW/h for any electricity not used and sold back to the grid, creating an additional, guaranteed revenue stream. It also helps future-proof against rising electricity prices, which is crucial for power intensive farming.

Stephen Frankel, from Wadebridge, installed solar on his small-holding in May 2010. "We installed solar PV on our barn roof a month ago, and we immediately starting saving on our bills and earning extra income thanks to the feed-in tariff. Traditionally, farming revenue is quite seasonal, but now we’re making money by creating clean energy we have the peace of mind of another income, and we’re doing our bit reducing our carbon footprint. I’d recommend any farmer to consider this – our land brings us so much value, so why not our roofs?”

Solar PV have proved popular with farmers across Europe since the introduction of feed-in tariffs in a number of countries over recent years. In France, since the FiT was introduced in 2008, solar PV has become a common choice on farms.

The feed-in tariff makes solar a sound investment with which farmers and building or landowners can protect themselves against rising electricity prices while saving many tonnes of C02 emissions too. Solar PV is simply the best way to upgrade your business.

The feed-in tariff is set to drop in April 2012, and so although these tariffs are index linked (meaning they will increase each year according to the consumer price index), the best time to invest in solar PV is NOW. These higher rates are only available until 31st March 2012, and so farmers are now active in introducing renewable energy to their businesses. Econergy Europe estimates that the average space needed for a solar roof is between 100 – 200 m2 and a typical 60kWp system produces 51,000 units of electricity a year which is vital for the power demands of today’s farming.

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