The Benefits of Solar PV for Agriculture
The farming and agricultural community are one of the sectors standing to make a gain from the Feed-in Tariff.
The Feed-In Tariff will place farmers and landowners in a position to make a greater profit from solar technology. By installing solar PV systems on to flat surfaces such as barn rooftops or warehouses, UK farmers and landowners have the potential to earn approximately £16,000 a year, saving over £1,800 in electricity bills, with income and savings expected to be more than £465,000 over 25 years.
An average barn has space to install a 60kWp PV system and in many cases will not require planning permission. PV panels should ideally be installed on a south-facing roof. This is best for energy capture, but the panels can also be place in ground-mounted frames around field margins – as long as they are not shadowed by hedges or trees – or across whole fields.
A detailed energy audit of a farm will show the savings you can make by using home-generated power instead of bought-in supplies. It will also help you decide on the scale of the solar panel installation you need.
The average space required for a solar roof is between 100 - 200 m2. A typical 60kWp system produces 51,000 units of electricity a year which is vital for the power demands of today's farming. Installation costs can range from £1,800 for a 1kWp system to £5,000 for a 4kWp system.
The amount gained from the Feed-In Tariff is dependent on the size of the solar system you install. To gain the maximum payment from the tariff (13.88p per unit) your system must be under 4 kW in output.
The best rates for installing solar power are only available in the next few years in the UK, making it a good time for farmers to introduce renewable energy to their businesses.
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