Your route to net zero: solar photovoltaic electricity

17 December 2021

Climate change and renewables
Chickens and solar panels

Even without renewable energy incentives, solar photovoltaic (PV) power generation can offer a sound return on investment for farmers, following the dramatic fall in its capital cost. Find out whether solar PV could be part of your net zero ambition and download our updated briefing. 

There is a long history of food producers using the sun’s energy for growing and drying crops, solar PV adds a modern twist to agricultural landscapes and the farmer’s relationship with the sun.

Solar PV systems are versatile and scalable and warrant serious thought as part of any ambition to get to net zero.

They can be installed in various locations from:

  • domestic rooftops
  • farm buildings 
  • ground-mounted panels around field margins
  • panels deployed across large fields, as solar farms.

Over the past decade, Britain has seen around 14 gigawatts, of power from solar PV. About 70% of this is in the agricultural sector.

Solar roofs and solar farms are becoming a familiar part of the 21st-century British landscape in both urban and rural areas. They make a growing contribution to energy security and national renewable energy targets.

However, the most recent large-scale solar farms present new challenges to both developers and landowners alike.

They must demonstrate good practice and multi-purpose land use.

Solar energy

Solar power involves capturing light energy from the sun to produce an electric current.

It is one of several land-based renewable energy resources available to agriculture. This can be used:

  • to supply energy to the farm and
  • surplus energy can be sold to the grid.

Finance

Solar power is already one of the easiest renewable energy options to finance, regarded as fairly low-risk by banks and accessible to secured-loan borrowing.

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