Research by Barclays reveals that an estimated 70,000 UK farmers are predicted to invest in renewable energy schemes in the hope that they can generate not just electricity but an income of around £25,000 a year.
Barclays questioned 300 dairy farmers in the UK during August and as a result estimated that 70,000 farmers would invest in sources of renewable energy with the hope that their investment will generate an income of around £25,000 a year.
The results of the survey have been published to come out at the same time as a £100 million renewable energy fund is being launched. This £100m scheme is designed to help fund renewable energy schemes and help them to become reality.
Speaking from accountants, Saffery Champness, Shirley Mathieson said “The loan fund can be accessed for solar, hydro and wind projects throughout the UK and for many landowners and farmers an investment in generating renewable energy now makes good business sense”.
She added “The majority of those investing in renewables expect a pay-back period of 10 years or less, after which they will have many years of lower energy costs, generation tariff and income through selling energy back to the grid. Renewable energy production offers landowners and farmers an opportunity to expand their businesses and add to their traditional role of producing food and managing the countryside”.
At a time when business electricity prices are rising investing in sources of renewable energy generation could not only help to increase a farmer’s annual income but could also help to reduce business energy costs.
However, there’s still some uncertainty regarding Feed-In Tariffs and the rates offered in the future. Some commercial schemes are already under threat after the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) announced cuts in FiTs of between 40% and 70% for solar installations.
Shirley Mathieson therefore added that “further investment may depend on the outcome” of the DECC’s announcement on FiT’s.
A further stumbling block for renewable energy projects is planning permission and the length of time it can take to get approval. If planning permission takes a while then costs are likely to increase and it may then not prove economical to go ahead with the installation.