Solar panels can produce a regular income for landowners.

UK farmers looking at environmental diversification are being encouraged to consider leasing their land for solar development to secure long-term secure returns and help to lower UK emissions.

The UK large-scale solar market is thriving as the cost of solar panels reduces, Government policy becomes more focussed on a low-carbon economy and more efficient equipment results in increased attractiveness of the sector. This opens up the opportunity for farmers to install large-scale solar developments on their land.

Global solar specialist Quintas Group is working with agricultural consultancy Active Business Partnerships (ABP) to source land for solar development, helping farmers to diversify into renewable energy where suitable grid connection capacity can be identified in conjunction with high solar irradiance (power per unit area of energy received from the sun).

Angus Bell at ABP is positive that the new collaboration with Quintas Group will ensure that farmers and landowners get a diversification option which is looking after their best interests.

“Solar farms are a good opportunity to diversity into a 20 to 30-year long index-linked income stream that will help maintain resilience while the farming industry evolves through the biggest policy changes for the past 40 years,” he said.

“Given the current changes we’re experiencing within the industry, which is having to recalibrate post-Brexit, we see solar farms as a positive option not only for the landowner, but also as part of the solution that the farming industry can deliver as we progress towards a low-carbon economy.

“ABP has been highly involved with all stages of the process and can offer expertise in all aspects of incorporating a solar enterprise into businesses,” Mr Bell added.

Quintas Group has more than 200 UK solar farms under its management, as well as 150 solar specialists, and is expert in understanding how to develop, construct and manage solar farms in a way that benefits all stakeholders, with expertise and experience in a wide range of matters affecting solar farms and the local communities they’re based in.

“We understand that local stakeholders are key to the success of the development, construction and operation of solar farms,” Quintas Group’s Shirine Azzi said. “That’s why we want to work closely with landowners who’re interested in leasing land for solar development.

“Our ethos is to develop good quality sites as we’re in it for the long run. The solar plants will be built to last and will remain with the same owner and under the same asset management long after construction.

“This means that landowners will be able to turn to us, a single counterparty, with any questions or concerns, from inception of the development process through to construction and then through to the plant being operational,” Ms Azzi added. “Lease agreements can also be tailored to include any special requirements farmers may have. For example, if site is tobe grazed by sheep.”

ABP has been highly involved with all stages of the process and can offer expertise in all aspects of incorporating solar energy into farm businesses.