Renewable energy projects can 'transform' farmers' income

Sustainable energy projects can provide important revenue streams for farms
Sustainable energy projects can provide important revenue streams for farms

Sustainable energy experts have advised that there are still opportunities for farmers looking to diversify in order to "transform" their income.

As farming faces uncertain times, with the market growing increasingly cautious because of Brexit, sustainable energy projects can provide important revenue streams for farms.

Twin Yard Farm, outside Alfreton in Derbyshire, is looking to expand its business to include a gas generator scheme.

The scheme will produce and supply electricity to the grid at peak times, adding a further income stream to the business.

The farm had a wind turbine installed in 2016 and then a 25 acre solar park in 2017, with the generator marking its third energy project.

The mixed arable and livestock farm is run by Dave Holling and family, who purchased the business 52 years ago.

Building work is underway on the gas generator scheme, which will see a modern new building replace an old hay and straw barn on the farm which was coming to the end of its life.

Mr Holling said diversifying the farm with renewable projects has "transformed" their income, and means the family no longer have to rely solely on farming to bring in revenue.

'Healthy additional income'

Harry Edwards, of property specialists Fisher German, said that there are still sustainable energy opportunities for those looking to diversify.

He said: “Many people assume that with the retraction of subsidies sustainable energy opportunities are no longer an option for diversification projects, however this is not the case.

“There are projects such as gas gen-set schemes and battery storage facilities, as well as large scale solar PV now able to stand up without subsidies, that can provide healthy additional incomes to farms."

Deals can see farmers not only receiving a base rent but also a percentage of the revenue when there are particularly sunny or windy years, or the price of electricity rises.

Twin Yard Farm has already seen benefits from renewable energy projects, receiving a rent for each project from separate tenants.

Building work is currently underway on the gas generator scheme which will not only produce energy and further income, but see a modern new building constructed on the farm.