Farmers earn extra income with solar buildings

Farmers earn extra income with solar buildings

Farmers can earn in the region of £16,000 income a year, saving over £1,800 in electricity bills, with income and savings anticipated to be more than £465,000 over 25 years1. This is due to the preferable rate set for the Feed-in tariff of 31.4p paid for each unit of electricity generated. The savings and earnings represent ROI of over 9% for farmers and create an additional, guaranteed revenue stream. It also helps future-proof against rising electricity prices, which is crucial for power intensive farming.

UK Farmers are starting to go solar. Stephen Frankel, from Wadebridge, installed solar on his small-holding in May 2010. “We installed solar PV on our barn roof a month ago, and we immediately starting saving on our bills and earning extra income thanks to the Feed-in tariff. Traditionally, farming revenue is quite seasonal, but now we’re making money by creating clean energy we have the peace of mind of another income, and we’re doing our bit reducing our carbon footprint. I’d recommend any farmer to consider this – our land brings us so much value, so why not our roofs?”

Solar PV roofs have proved popular with farmers across Europe since the introduction of Feed-in tariffs in a number of countries over recent years. In France, since the Feed-in tariff started in 2008, solar PV has become a common choice on farms. It is a proven renewable technology with minimal planning or maintenance concerns that can make good use of existing farm buildings without impacting on agricultural land.

Mr and Mrs Jean-Noël Simard are poultry farmers from Burgundy in France, who installed 470 solar panels on their barns in April 2010: “Our Solarcentury Energy Roof is an excellent way of diversifying revenue streams for farmers like us. The Feed-in tariff makes solar a sound investment with which we can protect ourselves against rising electricity prices while saving many tonnes of C02 emissions too. Solar PV is simply the best way to upgrade your farm.”

Derry Newman, CEO, Solarcentury said: “Sustainable farming is at the core of a healthy future for the UK. Solarcentury has helped hundreds of commercial organisations and farmers across Europe go solar, and as the most experienced British solar PV company, we welcome the opportunity to now help UK farmers get maximum return from their property. Through our work with the agricultural and construction industries our dedicated R&D team have developed our ‘Energy Roof’. Solar power is no longer just about bolting a few bulky panels to your roof, it’s a sophisticated, guaranteed, active industrial building product designed to work with your business.”

With the best rates only available for those installing solar in the next few years in the UK, farmers are now active in introducing renewable energy to their businesses, and deciding whether to have solar land or solar roofs. The average space needed for a solar roof is between 100 – 200 m2 , a typical 60kWp system1 produces 51,000 units of electricity a year which is vital for the power demands of today’s farming. For more information visit


For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Charlotte Webster at Solarcentury

Or Seb Berry at Solarcentury
T: 07717 857066

Notes to Editors:
1. The annual income and savings breakdown is £16,014 for generated electricity, £765 for exported electricity and £1,845 for savings on electricity bills; totalling £20,094 per year for the average agricultural roof.
The income figure is based on a 60 kWp system generating 51,000 units (kilowatt hours (kWh)) of electricity a year, assuming that for every kWp of PV installed, you will generate 850 kWh a year, and applying the generation tariff of 31.4p per unit. The tariff is index linked, and applies to commercial solar power installations between 10 and 100 kWp capacity. The figure also assumes that on average you will consume 50% of the solar electricity in the property and export the remainder earning 3p for each unit exported and energy savings of 9p per unit rising 6% per annum. This is a national average, which assumes a south facing pitch of 30 – 40 degrees, with no shading.
2. ‘Energy Roof’ – This solar photovoltaic structure is more than panels, it is weatherproof, modular, British designed and built, and fast to fit. It comes with a number of options such as skylights and vents and has been successfully installed on many buildings.