There’s an interesting piece on Farmers Weekly online today about rents landowners can expect to receive from Solar Farm developers. Despite the changes in the subsidy regime, the article suggests landowners can still look for £1000 an acre per annum for solar rental. If they can then persuade Defra that they are still actively farming the land, they can receive another £80 an acre of CAP subsidy on top. Though that looks pretty paltry compared to what they are getting for solar.
Another interesting point made in the article is that the national grid is now at capacity – there is so much electricity flowing into the national grid on a sunny day that it cannot cope with it all. One wonders what happens to the excess (cue UKIP concern about surplus solar electricity leaking out into the countryside, killing farm animals). The key appears to be whether a solar farm is “grid-permissioned” or not. If it’s not, then it won’t be able to feed electricity into the grid, which makes it pretty redundant.
At the proposed Rampisham Down site, there was a high voltage connection to power the previous Radio Transmitting Station on the site, so it is obviously well-connected to the national grid. I don’t know whether Rampisham qualifies as a “grid-permissioned site” or not though – any ideas?
The last point from the article is that Solar Farm developers are now looking to scale up to a point where the farms operate at a profit without subsidy, and the break point is thought to be above 20MW. Rampisham is currently proposed to be 24MW, though would be larger still if British Solar Renewables go ahead with their planned additional solar farm north of the A356.