Renewing interest in renewables

Iain Boyd, Senior Environmental Consultant, SAC Consulting.

With the current energy crisis and increased cost of living, most people are looking at options to save money, reduce costs and generate additional income. Consequently, there has been a noticeable revival in enquiries for farm scale renewables, as many farmers consider the best options to reduce reliance on the grid, minimise the impact of market volatility and increase energy security.

Increasing energy bills show that making the best use of onsite generation and offsetting your grid bought power can be a very attractive proposal. If you can match the technology to onsite demand and sell surplus to the grid, you can often see a good return on investment. Over the last year, the high export prices and power purchase agreements on offer have seen good payback periods for many developments.

Before installing any form of generation it is first prudent to assess options for reducing energy use, improving efficiency and making best use of your existing systems and grid connection. This can help to save money and ensure you are investing in the right scale and type of renewables or storage options. Many banks and financial institutions also offer favourable loans and options for green or renewable energy projects.

Solar PV is one technology that is worth considering. If you have a demand that matches well with solar output, structurally sound south facing and unobstructed roof space, then it can be a prudent investment option and is usually classed as a permitted development from a planning point of view.

Depending on the site specifics, other forms of renewable generation may also be suitable and a well-designed project will help to minimise greenhouse gas emissions, reduce dependence on the grid and provide economic opportunities.

Click here for more information on practical efficiency measures and ways to reduce the farm carbon footprint.

Farming for a Better Climate is funded by the Scottish Government.  This article was first published in the December 2022 issue of the Farming Scotland magazine.

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