Can you put Solar Panels on Agricultural Land?
The benefits of solar panels for domestic customers are manyfold. But the benefits for farmers and agricultural customers can be even greater. Farmers have used energy from the sun for their work since the beginning of time, but solar panels enable you to use it for more than helping crops and livestock’s food to grow. Harvesting the sun’s energy and converting it into usable power to be used on the farm is both financially economical, but also much better for the environment.
As farms look for greener ways to run their – often high energy-consuming – operations, being able to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources is becoming increasingly important. Whether it is a need for more reliable power sources, the cheaper running of machinery, or a need for cleaner air, using solar panels for agriculture is the way forward, and here’s why.
Solar Panels for Agriculture
There are several reasons why installing solar panels is a great idea for agriculture in addition to the environmental benefits. These include:
- You can reduce your energy costs from your existing energy suppliers
- Solar panels will add value to your farm
- Solar panels are durable, require minimal maintenance, and last for decades
- Solar panels will normally pay for themselves within about 6.5 years
- Creating your own energy from renewable sources means less reliance on energy suppliers and their price fluctuations
- Farmers can claim capital allowances for solar panels as they are classed as ‘plant and machinery’
- Solar power is less expensive than grid power on a percentage basis
Solar Panels and Agricultural Land
Solar panels work by taking the energy from the sun that they are exposed to and converting it to electrical energy. They can be a very effective way to produce energy on a farm using renewable sources, but one of the downsides is that they require a large surface area that is exposed to the sun to collect this energy.
Fortunately, space is something that many farms have in abundance. A part of agricultural land can be easily converted into a solar farm, collecting energy from the sun which can, in turn, be used to power the farm and its operations.
You may need special permission if the land is protected, listed, or part of a world heritage site.
A Better Solution
As a starting consideration, it is much more cost effective to utilise roof space for power generation, as you are effectively utilising a space that is redundant, aside from keeping the elements out. However, if roof space is scarce, you can put a solar farm on your land without planning permission (For commercial ground mounted systems you will need planning permission), however this does preclude you from using that land for anything else – aside from small grazing animals that are not prone to chewing on cables.
Rooftop solar panels are much more effective for a farm, utilising space that would otherwise have been wasted to create your energy, allowing you to use the agricultural land space for, well, agriculture. Farming buildings are typically large enough to accommodate a large number of solar panels.
Installing rooftop solar panels on the roof of your agricultural buildings is a great way to produce green energy for your farm, whilst cutting costs, providing a reliable energy source, and reducing your carbon footprint.