Solar farming is now becoming established as a means of revenue for farmers. One of my land contacts already has several deals under way and I have been looking at the terms on offer from those who intend to solar farm.
The documents usually consist of an option to take a lease if planning permission is granted, an agreed form of lease together with a grazing agreement. The operator accepts the obligation to obtain the planning permission and then agrees to enter into a form of lease. The payments for the option vary as do the terms of the lease but they are reasonable and will undoubtedly bring in good revenue to the farmer. This seems a good method of diversification without much effort from the farmer. I wonder how long before one of the farming community in the Archers are involved in this sort of arrangement?
As a method of acquiring an alternative source of energy I would have thought this has benefits to all concerned not least those paying for electricity. Solar farms seem to have benefits over wind farms in that they are less obtrusive on the vista and certainly less intrusive as to noise. Added to that I am yet to see any suggestion that being in close proximity to them is potentially dangerous, as apparently are power cables. No doubt that hare will be raised at some point
Are there any down sides to this enterprise are there any traps for the unwary? As ever it is the detail that can catch out the farmer. Here are a couple of points that need careful consideration.
a) Can the use of the solar farm be intensified without the farmer getting an increase in rent?
b) Can the farmer get the land back at the end of the lease and if so in what condition
c) Just how obligated is the operator to get the necessary planning permission
Assuming that the farmer can get the documentation right then he seems to be, as they say, on to a good thing.
Last 5 posts by Hugh Ellins
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