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Large solar parks and solar farms are becoming more popular within United Kingdom, delivering multi-megawatt (MW) output and promising huge returns for investors.
Try searching on the Internet and you will notice the large and spectacular solar farms in the South of Europe. Not only are these installations proving to be an effective power source for the region but they are proving a viable alternative to fossil and nuclear fuels. We have noticed that a number of investors have become apprehensive of risky European markets and now see solar farms as an increasingly attractive opportunity.
Feed In Tariff Rate
Large Solar PV installations of this nature receive a different feed-in tariff rate to the smaller domestic microgeneration systems. The current rate for larger installations is lower, but the sheer scale of a solar farm means that it is significantly appealing to investors who want a guaranteed return through the government backed feed in tariff scheme. With a reduction in panel prices and other equipment, large-scale solar farms are able to yield fantastic financial returns of 8-12%.
Sustain have significant experience within this sector and have found that most projects falling into this large-scale category are sized between 0.5 and 5MW. You will find that each MW of capacity will require approximately 2-3 hectares of land and subsequently produces somewhere in the region of 750-950 MWhr per year. Investors typically find that the returns are greater if there are large energy users on site, however projects that only feed electricity into the grid are also a viable solution.
The installation of solar PV in such a large-scale is a fantastic way to increase land value and utilise all the space you have available. Solar farms are also ideal where soil quality is poor, thus making them irrelevant for agricultural purposes. Brownfield sites are an ideal opportunity, as are locations where the land classification is 3a or lower. Here are some basic specifications for land suitability:
- 10 hectares minimum.
- Flat or alternatively with a slope towards the south.
- Shading from trees and hedges should be minimal.
- A 33kV substation should be close by.
- Not easily visible from residential areas.
- Land available for 20 years.
Sustain have worked with a number of landowners and investors. As a result we truly understand the specific requirements and investment objectives. Our comprehensive turnkey service for landowners is representative of the specific requirements of a ground-mounted solar project.
We understand the ins and outs of planning permission as well as working closely with the distribution network operator and other relevant organisations. Not only do we deal with these complex arrangements, we will install the system and help you monitor and manage it throughout the 20-year lifetime of the feed-in tariff. Solar PV systems rarely fail and are relatively easy to manage, but you still need the peace of mind from an experienced organisation such as Sustain.
The first part of the Sustain process will involve a desktop feasibility assessment of your site. This is free and will attempt to understand the suitability of the location for a solar farm or solar park. Our online form will require the following information:
- Postcode of the site.
- Area available in hectares (approximate figures will suffice).
- How many kWh of electricity are used per year on site.
- Financing requirements
- Contact Details
See our contact page to send us your details.
Solar Farm Examples
A solar farm may not mean a secluded piece of land away from any communities, it could be used to power a small holiday park or community offering holiday rents and permanent accommodation. Installing solar PV is a logical step towards reducing energy bills for the owner of the holiday park as well as permanent residents. Of course, it is a fantastic approach for reducing environmental impact as well.
Unsurprisingly, a solar PV installation is fantastic for both large and small scale agricultural operations. Farmers may choose to use land, which is not applicable for arable farming, making an income from the unused land and using the electricity generated to power the operations of the farm. Perhaps there are large farm buildings or green houses growing crops. Whatever the type of agricultural operation, Solar PV can be used to power operations during the day when the bulk of electricity is required.
Small rural villages could benefit from a solar farm or solar park. For example, a farmer or landowner within the area may choose to utilise their land to distribute electricity to local people. Perhaps there is a local pub, post office and shop that can also benefit from a solar farm. In this instance the installation could be classified as a utility scale solar PV installation or an isolated grid system. They are very similar to a solar farm and may be connected or separate from the electrical grid.
As you may appreciate, the installation of a solar farm or solar park incorporates a number of complexities and legal requirements. Our experienced solar PV team have been involved with many large scale solar PV installations to support the production of electricity for local areas, organisations and multisite operations.
Work with Sustain and you can be sure of receiving an exceptional service delivery, with the right information and support for your particular solar PV requirements. Contact us today for an informal conversation on your objectives and how we can help you.