Solar Energy

Earn rent from solar panels installed on your land or roof

 

You can earn nearly £1,000 a year per acre if we’re able to install solar panels on your land or the roof of a suitable building you own. That’s the kind of income you can expect for a larger, 5MW to 20MW, system on a site measuring from about 13 to 60 acres.

If you are a landowner, this can utterly transform your business and retirement prospects: instead of worrying about diesel, fertiliser, seed and pesticide costs and whether the international markets in the crop that you are growing will go up or down you can get a safe income that is almost pure profit for 25 years. This income can form the bedrock of your farm business, allowing you to take more risk with commodity prices on your remaining land holdings. Once you retire, this can provide income from your farm with next to no effort on your part.

Please bear in mind, though, that to qualify:

  1. Your site must be in the south of England, in a high solar irradiation area. That usually means it should be located within 100 miles of the English Channel, North Sea or Atlantic Ocean.
  2. The proposed site should either be almost invisible from the surrounding countryside or, if not, additional planted screening will be able to ensure that the site will become almost invisible.
  3. You will be willing to enter into a 26-year lease agreement with us for the panels.
  4. For larger systems – above 5MW- you must have an 33kV electrical cable within a few miles of the proposed site.  For smaller systems of 2MW you will need a 11kV electrical cable within a mile or so from your location.
  5. You should like small mammals, birds and honeybees.  Solar parks become oases of wildlife that are relatively undisturbed for 26 years.  No pesticides, fungicides, herbicides or fertilisers are added to the land. The parks are seeded with wildflowers that are designed to attract honeybees and so you should expect to see more bees and insects in general, birds that prey on the insects and small mammals.  At the end of the contract your land should be relatively easy to get certified for organic food production.  Please read more about community benefits here.  

The best way to find out more is by applying for a quote below. This will enable us to discover all your key details and ensure our first conversation is as helpful to you as possible.

 

Why work with Lumicity?

Lumicity has successfully taken 50MW of solar projects through planning, of which most are now constructed and operational.  Landlords like working with Lumicity: we know what needs to get done to take projects through the complex process of getting planning permission, grid connection approval and getting them built.

Michael Gurney of North Norfolk Business Centre writes:

Lumicity worked with me to secure planning permission and viability for a 64 acres solar site in North Norfolk and I have no hesitation in recommending them. Their professional and common sense approach combined with an understanding of local planning sensitivities and landowner’s concerns resulted in a successful project in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Nigel Perring, their surveyor, has a frank and honest approach to doing business that is a rarity in the Renewables sector.
 

Mike Isaac of Horsacott Farm writes:

When I was first approached by Lumicity regarding developing a Solar PV site on our farm, I felt very apprehensive and out of my depth. But the patience and willingness of Lumicity to listen and work with you every step of the way made the decision to get involved with Lumicity one of the best business decisions I have ever made.

The UK government’s attitude to solar power has been erratic over the past 18 months. First it allowed large scale solar projects and then, in February 2011, made them almost impossible. It allowed solar barns and then, in October 2011, made that almost impossible. We should expect the government to be reliably unreliable.

What is worth noting is that the price of solar PV has dropped by half over the past 12 months. This drop is unprecedented in history and is highly unlikely to continue. Why? Much of the drop has been to large Chinese solar PV manufacturing plants coming on stream. This is temporarily flooding the market with over supply, while key markets are seeing a drop in demand. The result is cheaper pricing.

The problem is that for many European solar PV manufacturers, the price point that the Chinese are offering is so low that many in the industry expect a number of key European solar PV manufacturers to go bankrupt. This will result in a reduction in solar PV supply and Chinese manufacturers may even increase prices to recoup some of their losses.

In the meantime, the UK government wants to continue to cut solar PV tariffs at a very aggressive rate, higher than what the market can sustain. So there is currently an anomaly in the solar PV market in the UK – PV prices are low, and the UK tariffs for are just high enough for large scale solar PV projects to work economically, with very tight margins. This is not expected to last.

In addition, the European Union has imposed tariffs on Chinese modules entering the European Union – which has resulted in higher costs for solar PV modules.

So, if you are a farmer and are thinking of a solar PV farm on your land, you need to pick a partner who will be able to build your project quickly, before the market goes against you. You should ask any solar PV developer the following questions:

  1. Do you have the equity capital to build these projects now?
  2. Do you need to borrow money from the bank in order to build this project?
  3. Do you have a reputable EPC supplier who has experience in building large scale solar PV projects in the UK?

The answer to Question 1 should be Yes. The answer to Question 2 should be No. It is very hard to find debt finance at the moment and even if it were possible it would add on a significant delay to the project. The answer to Question 3 should be Yes.

Finally, the critical test is how much rent the developer is offering you. If they offer anything above £1,000 per acre you should look into them very carefully as the likelihood is that all they intend to do is lock you into an exclusivity and then find an investor who is willing to buy the project from them. The problem is that there are no investors willing to pay more than £1,000 per acre in today’s market. We know, as our investors have financed the bulk of the UK’s large scale solar PV market and anything above £1,000 per acre makes the projects economically unviable. The range of rents that are sustainable at the moment range from £600 per acre for a sunny site to £1,000 acre for an extremely sunny site with extremely low grid connection costs.

Speed is of the essence: a long time spent negotiating and comparing offers is likely to result in your missing out on an income stream that can shore up your farm finances and help with your retirement.

 

Book a site visit to find out more

You can either apply for a wind turbine, a solar PV system, a biomass boiler, or all three. Please leave us some simple details so we can get in touch with you to arrange a site visit.