A growing trend is emerging in the agriculture sector with more and more UK farmers adopting to install renewable energy technologies.
To date the most popular renewable technology farmers are opting for is Solar PV systems, which might be partly led by the sheer volume of roof space available on farms outbuildings. Results published from a recent survey organised by The National Farmers Union (NFU) and Natwest show that one in six farmers will have installed Solar PV by the autumn of 2012.
Profiting from on-farm renewable energy
The survey, which included more than 400 UK farmers, was to evaluate the amount of interest in, and adoption of, renewable energy technologies in the agriculture sector.
It is thought the agricultural sector could produce up to 15% of renewable energy by 2020, which means it would make a considerable contribution to the UK’s overall target of generating 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.
For several years The National Farmers Union have been proactively communicating with farmers and growers throughout the UK to consider installing some type of renewable energy, given the attractive return of investment opportunities available whilst at the same time dramatically cutting their carbon emissions. By farmers opting to generate their own electricity, not only can they immediately save on paying for electricity, but they can also earn extra monies from participating in the Government’s Feed in Tariff (FiT) scheme and earn money for supplying the electricity they do not need to use back to the grid.
The survey’s results confirm interest in installing renewable technology is finally starting to kick in; the survey reports a staggering 20% of farmers are working towards generating their own electricity by the end of this year. Whilst Solar PV systems are proving to be a popular choice, there’s also noticeable interest in renewable heat generating technologies such as biomass boilers.
However, it’s not all plain sailing as many farmers are facing hurdles with gaining planning consent where needed, as well as securing finance to make the investment to install renewable technologies.
These issues are being addressed, with planning officers being urged to look more favourably on planning applications received from farmers for renewable technology installations. In addition Natwest has stated it is taking the necessary steps to be better placed to help those businesses in the agriculture sector secure the finances they need for these types of investments.
All in all, the increasing number of farmers now committing to projects to install renewable technologies is another positive step in the right direction in helping reduce our country’s CO2 emissions.