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Get in Touch

Working Your
Land Harder

As a landowner, you may be wondering about the benefits of having a wind farm or solar farm on your property. These renewable energy projects not only help to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and combat climate change, but they can also provide a significant financial benefit to landowners.
Continue growing crops or raising livestock
With a wind or solar farm on your land there is the opportunity to utilise dual-use land management practices such as agrivoltaics. Agrivoltaics is the practice of growing crops or raising livestock under solar panels or wind turbines. This dual-use approach allows farmers to generate income from both the renewable energy project and their agricultural operation, making their land work harder for them.
Diversify the income from your land
Landowners will expect to receive annual lease payments for the duration of the project, which can provide a stable source of income for many years to come. These agreements are long-dated, inflation linked and provide a secure and diverse income, with zero-risk as fees are covered by us.
Increase Biodiversity on your land
Furthermore, Agrivoltaics has also been found to have direct benefits for the local environment and land restoration. Placing solar panels over cropland can reduce water consumption and the need for chemical fertilisers, while also providing shade for livestock. Additionally, agrivoltaics can also increase biodiversity on the land, as the combination of solar panels and vegetation creates a diverse range of microclimates and habitats for wildlife.

Working Your
Land Harder

As a landowner, you may be wondering about the benefits of having a wind farm or solar farm on your property. These renewable energy projects not only help to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and combat climate change, but they can also provide a significant financial benefit to landowners.
When we are in the design stage of planning the solar farm, we look at accommodating any farming practices already established or that would like to be established and work out how we can make the site dual-use, ensuring that the impact on the livestock farming sector can be minimised.

Wherever the site is, we form relationships with national and regional wildflower, hedgerow and wildlife associations so we can go above and beyond to improve the biodiversity in the area.

The ground mounted solar panels are raised off the ground and rows are spaced about 5m apart. There is no foundation needed for solar panels and the poles go straight into the ground, meaning that a solar farm can be in contact with the land itself as little as 1-5%. This leaves plenty of space for animals like sheep and chickens to roam around.

The panels are at an angle to maximise solar irradiance from the sun so this provides great shelter from rainy weather and shade during the summer months. Growth of grass can be managed by grazing so if sheep are using the land, no heavy machinery is required to maintain the field underneath the panels.

Other solar farms have had great success with having beehives share the site with solar panels. The solar panels themselves cause very little disturbance to the bees and they have ample food opportunities with the biodiversity site improvements. The security systems on solar farms can be beneficial to beehives as they can prevent rustling from happening, ensuring the safety of the beehives.

Agricultural Land Classification

Unlike with other developments, solar farms are temporary structures. After the lease has ended, it is part of the agreement that we leave the land exactly how we found it. Enrichment to the sites may remain if there are any ecological improvements and if they are wanted. The soil will also have been improved by being able to lay fallow and replenish their nutrients. Having animals on the site over the years have also trampled manure into the field, providing vital minerals and nourishment.

The Process

Land Search
Our Development team will look for land where a solar farm would work well on having had a look at potential Grid capacity. The searches are very specific and only land meeting certain conditions will be considered. They’ll start within a search radius of the substation so as to cause as little impact with cabling as possible. Look at various pieces of land, they assess risks including but not limited to Agricultural Land Classification, flooding, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Conservation Areas and Green Belt.
Relationship with Land Owners
Once we have found somewhere that could work really well, one of our team makes a visit to introduce us and the idea of solar on their land. We can then have a close relationship with land owners and work together on the ins and outs of terms and agreements. At this stage we agree and sign the Heads of Teams.
Pre-Application & Screening
When all stakeholders are happy to move forward, we will submit information to the Local Planning Authority. This will help us get an idea of any specifics they are looking for us to do for when we submit our final application. Once we know particular surveys, assessments and if the project requires an EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment), we can get these started.

A major part of this stage is to get valued feedback from the local communities and residents. We send out information leaflets to all residents in the radius of the construction sites which let them know all about our project and how they can be pivotal in shaping how the final design turns out. We’ll also have the chance for at least two live sessions explaining the project and inviting people to ask questions about the scheme.

Some projects on a very large scale are classified as Nationally Significant
Infrastructure Projects (NSIP) and the consenting authority becomes the Secretary of
State. Here, we are required consult all stakeholders and local communities prior to
our application, which takes approximately 18 months. This process is key to the
evolution of the project and consenting process and we seek to establish a
consensus with as many stakeholders as possible.

We hope to engage with local community organisations, charities and schools so that our projects can directly benefit those near to our sites.

The ‘Option to Lease’ Agreement allows us to enter into an agreement with the landowner. This happens once we get planning consent and can confirm our valid grid connection and alongside our other pre- application and screening processes.

Planning Submission
We’ll review all of our documents, drawings, maps, surveys and ensure that we have covered everything that we need to. All of this will be collated in a planning application to the local council. It can take anywhere between 4-6 months for a decision to be made. Once we receive approval and planning conditions have been satisfied, depending on the grid connection timeline we can move on to the next stage.

For large strategic schemes we submit a Development Consent Order (DCO)
application to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) for approval by the Secretary of
State. The entire process takes about two years.
We anticipate that the construction of the solar farm will take between 2-3 months, depending on the size of the project. There will likely be a little disruption during this time but we will ensure this is as minimal as possible by carefully planning each step, including construction traffic and alterations to local services. We will also have a contact who can be reached if anyone should have any concerns.
Solar Energy Generation
Once the farm is plugged into the grid, solar energy generation can begin. There are no moving parts so maintenance is minimal. There will be security cameras to ensure everyone’s safety around the site as well as routine site visits just to see how things are going.
The End of the Operation
After the lease ends, which depends on the project terms, the entire farm will be taken down. Records of how the site was at the start will be brought back to ensure that everything is returned to how we found it. We set aside a bond to ensure that the land restoration is already funded in full. The only things the project leaves behind are any natural enhancements that have been made and the knowledge that over the previous years, cheap and clean electricity was generated for everyone to use.


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