Sunny outlook for solar farm

A DINNINGTON company is expanding into the agricultural sector after securing its first contract to supply a farm with solar energy panels.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 7th June 2012, 4:33 pm

Greenbuy Energy is extending its operation beyond supplying homes and business premises with renewables, as a change in the law in April means that commercial property owners, including farmers, can now have solar panels installed on their land without the need for planning permission.

Greenbuy Energy business partner Russell Paul said: “The need for planning permission is something which has deterred farmers from solar energy in the past, but this is now no longer a concern for them.”

“As energy bills continue to soar more and more farmers are becoming interested in ways to save money and, for many, photovoltaic systems are a great option.”

The company has signed its first agricultural deal with farmer Stephen Woodward, owner of the 200 acre, arable Poplar Farm in Woodall, Sheffield.

Greenbuy Energy, based in Dinnington, will fit 40 monocrystalline solar panels of 250 watts each on a south-facing barn on the farm. In a year, the system will produce ten kilowatt-peaks of photovoltaic energy – enough to provide a typical household with all its electricity for 17 months.

It is estimated that Mr Woodward’s investment in the solar panels will generate a total benefit of £89,000 in 25 years.

Mr Woodward, 47, said: “There are always economic constraints and pressures on farmers, and as a 200 acre arable site we use a lot of electricity which obviously results in sizeable bills.”

“This has been a family farm for around 120 years so its future is very important to me. These solar panels are a long term investment that will pay back the cost of their installation quickly and then make money for the farm as they generate power.”

“It makes a great deal of business sense and will go a long way to helping secure the financial future of the farm.”