Solar For Farms
Agricultural Solar Panels
Mypower has a proven track record of providing energy solutions in the agricultural sector which deliver real benefits and savings.
Solar panels for farm buildings
High and volatile electricity costs are adding to the escalating overheads faced by UK farmers which affect profitability. Farm buildings can provide large, uncomplicated roof spaces which are ideal for installing solar PV, helping farmers to reduce their energy bills significantly. Mypower specialise in installing high quality, high yielding solar panels for agricultural buildings.
Agricultural solar system - High energy users
Agricultural solar panels can benefit refrigeration warehouses, grain stores, dairy units and chicken housing. They all require a high amount of energy to run and can benefit from solar to help reduce electricity costs. Matching the daytime generation from the panels to the electricity demand within the building is the most efficient way to use solar energy, as it means businesses need to import less energy from the grid (which in early 2024 costs up to four times as much as solar).
At current installation costs, solar PV is seeing an ROI of 15% and over - considerably more than any UK bank is offering! Average payback length is 4-6 years and your solar investment can be cashflow positive in as little as two years. With low interest rates, solar is therefore viewed as a low risk investment, particularly for long-term businesses such as those in the agricultural sector.
Improving Farm Productivity grant
Since the closure of the Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) subsidy in March 2019, the commercial case for solar PV has continued to improve driven by technology cost reduction and efficiency improvements coupled with significant rises in energy costs. In 2024 the typical payback period is 4-6 years before any potential capital allowance benefit is considered.
To make the case even stronger, in late January 2024 DEFRA released Round 2 of it's 'Improving Farm Productivity' grant supporting the farming and horticultural community in England to improve productivity and efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Solar PV is specifically identified as a technology that will be supported by the significant 25% grant for eligible businesses and projects. The first stage is to use an online eligibilty checker to make an initial online application. Please note, this online checker closes at 11:59pm on 21 March 2024.
If you would like to find out more about how solar PV could benefit your business, or need input to the solar PV element of your application, please contact us.
For example, Mypower installed 108kW solar PV system for Daylesford Organic Farm in Gloucestershire which will provide a return on investment of 17.5% and produce subsidy-free electricity at around 4.85p per unit, including projected operating and maintenance costs. Compare this to a typical grid supplied rate of 20p per unit.
The future of an agriculture solar system
Reduced costs from energy suppliers
Panels remain profitable
Added value to your business/farm
Reduced carbon footprint
Can be bought at a fixed cost of 5p per unit including projected operating & maintenance costs
Electrification will improve the benefits further
The uptake of electric vehicles and investments in technologies such as robotic milking systems will increase the onsite consumption of solar generated electricity, improving the commercial benefits associated with localised solar PV generation even further. This is before you even start to look at the savings you'll make by moving from petrol and diesel to electric.
Solar is an excellent low risk technology
It is a well-established, tried and tested technology in the UK
Average yields are very predictable
Panels and inverters have long, robust warranties
Maintenance is minimal - there are no moving parts
Ben Harrison of Mypower with Adam Henson and Duncan Andrews of Cotswold Farm Park
Tax benefits with solar
Solar panels are classed as plant and machinery which means they are eligible for capital allowances. So, the capital cost can be written off against profits in the first year.
If we take a farming partnership paying 40% tax as an example, it's possible to claim back from HMRC 40% of the cost of the solar installation in the next tax return. This means a £35,000 investment effectively costs the business just £21,000, making the first year return on investment significantly higher at around 23%, and the cost of producing each unit of electricity considerably lower at around 4-6p per unit.
Solar energy - clean, green and 1/4 of the price of grid supplied.
Impact of fitting solar panels on farms in 2024
In 2012, farmer Andrew Bullock had 198 solar panels on his farm fitted and was pleased with the results: “We are both saving and making money. Anyone who has significant daytime energy use will make solar pay”, he commented.
The table below compares Andrew’s 2012 solar installation with how the figures would look for a roof mounted 50kWp installation in 2024.
50 kWp solar PV installation
Despite the subsidy no longer being available, the reduction in panel costs and the continued rise in grid supplied electricity means that the 2024 system provides a better return than under the high subsidy rate provided in 2012.
This is also based on using just 60% of the solar electricity onsite, a key lever when considering the commercial returns.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you put solar panels on agricultural land?
Yes, however, for a large-scale ground mounted solar PV system there are lots of considerations. These include the requirement for full planning permission and also how you get the power from the panel location into your supply or into the grid. In many cases farm buildings provide a great platform for solar PV, typically with less onerous planning requirements and more easily accessible electrical infrastructure.
Agriculture Solar Panel Price
There are lots of factors that influence the cost of installing large-scale ground mounted solar PV systems, including the costs to connect the system to the grid, if you are not connecting directly into a supply already in place.
The systems that Mypower installs are connected into customer’s supply point. This provides greater commercial benefit as the solar electricity generated at the equivalent unit rate of 4-6 pence per kWh displaces grid supplied electricity at typical daytime grid rate 25-30 pence per kWh (in 2023). The cost of a solar PV system is typically recovered within the first 4-6 years of operation, sometimes less depending on the price of the grid supplied electricity it is replacing. There is also further commercial opportunity via tax benefits under the capital allowances scheme.
Are solar panel farms profitable?
Yes, solar PV is one of the lowest cost ways of generating clean electricity. The energy source (the sun) is free, so once the system has paid for itself and the minimal ongoing maintenance costs are accounted for, solar PV can be highly profitable.
Have we captured your interest?
Mypower is highly experienced in supplying solar panels for agricultural buildings.
If you would like more information, along with the facts and the figures on how you can benefit from solar,
please get in touch on 01242 620894 or visit our contact page.