Many land owners have large holdings of marginal or unproductive land. A well sited and designed solar photovoltaic (PV) farm can generate investment returns in excess of 15% per annum for the owner.
The areas required are not large. Very roughly current yields are about 1 Megawatt (MW) per 2 hectares, although as technology advances these are increasing. A 1MW installation would generate between 820 and 1000 Megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity per year.
Typical farms are in the range 1.5 to 5 MW although larger scale farms are now being developed. We are working on a 47 MW development - but that is unusual.
Land owners can become involved in the renewable energy revolution at several levels.
The easiest and least risky is simply renting out land to solar farm developers. The risks (and the returns) are carried by others.
More value can be generated by taking a well chosen site through the planning process. With planning permission these "shovel ready" sites can be sold on to farm developers. A typical cost pre-planning costs are in the order £80-100k per farm and is largely independent of the farm area.
Full value can be achieved by land owners if they are prepared to fund and manage the development of the farm through to completion and operation.
Solar Farm Partners works with land owner at each of these levels.
We work with land owners to identify potential sites. We then with our partners, carry out an initial environmental and economic assessment. These screening process identifies those sites that have the potential to:
1. Generate a good financial return
2. Most easily achieve the necessary planning permissions
2. Be economically connected to the national electricity grid
Suitable sites can be further developed and taken to the planning application stage. Solar Farm partners works with land owners in drawing up, and taking a project throug,h the planning process. This includes:
Project design to ensure minimum environmental impact whilst maximizing the potential yield.
Planning application and community support. We will draw detailed plans and discuss these with both local planners and the local community to maximise the success of a planning application
Working with the local electricity supply company to ensure connection to the grid is achievable at an economic cost.
A site with planning application can then either be developed or sold.
A well sited and designed solar farm site with planning permission and close to good grid connections is valuable real estate. Solar Farm Partners work with land owners to either sell or co-develop the site.
Solar Farm Partners is in constant dialogue with investors looking for good sites. We can work with land owners to ensure good value is achieved on the sale of a solar farm site.
Co-development is the alternative solution. Here Solar PV Partners will work with the land owner to bring together the team who can successfully develop a site. These brings together;
1. Investors/financiers who want to take debt or equity positions in the development an provide construction and pre-operation funding.
2. Solar Farm designers. Solar Farm Partners has our own team of planners and project managers. We ensure the site is planned to maximise the financial yield over the lifetime of the farm. This often involves making careful considered decisions and trade-offs on construction and equipment costs and operational efficiency. We have found that cheaper to install systems often have lower lifetime electricity yields and thus lower financial returns.
3. Power engineering specialists. Connecting a 10MW solar farm to the national electricity requires careful design as well as co-ordination with the local electricity supply company. Solar PV Partners works with a number of specialist organizations that manage the interface between the developer and the local electricity distribution network operator (DNO).
4. Engineering, procurement and construction organizations. Construction of large scale solar farms is a complex program of works. We work with a number of EPC contractors. Solar Farm Partners can work with the land owner to selected, negotiate and contract with the right contractor for your development. As the project develops we can continue to manage the contractor over the construction phase to ensure delivery is on-time and on-budget.
You can learn more about our partners here.