Can you use solar panels on agricultural buildings? - thumbnail image

Can you use solar panels on agricultural buildings?

Yes! This blog post explores some of the ways farm owners can utilise solar PV on their agricultural buildings, as well as the benefits they can expect to enjoy, from adding value to their farm to the capital allowances they may be able to claim for solar panels as ‘plant and machinery’.

Climate change is one of the biggest threats to British food production and security, a fact that appears to have been widely acknowledged across the agricultural industry. It is responding proactively, in part by increasingly embracing solar PV power generation. Bur reducing farms’ carbon footprint and helping the country move towards its net zero target isn’t the only benefit of solar PV.

Reduced bills, diversified income

The National Farmers’ Union has previously spoken about solar PV systems’ ability to deliver a ‘sound return on investment for farmers’, which can be installed on agricultural buildings or ground-mounted panels (in some cases, field-scale arrays of ground-mounted PV modules which accommodate the grazing of animals). Farm buildings, which often have huge roofs, are often fantastic candidates for solar PV panels.

Benefits of solar PV include reduced reliance on expensive gas and gas-fired electricity, which in turn leads to reduced energy bills. We have all seen, first hand, how sharp and sudden increases in electricity costs can harm businesses, including those in the agricultural sector. Installing solar panels is a great way of protecting against these price hikes, especially when solar batteries are incorporated, allowing farmer to make use of solar-generated energy before the sun rises and long after it sets.

Another benefit of solar PV is diversification, as farmers can create an additional income stream by selling energy back to the grid. Recent analysis from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) found that farmers without solar panels could be missing out on up to £1 billion over two years; a combination of money saved as a result of decreased dependence on the grid and money generated by selling excess energy back to it.

Capital allowances

In the Spring Budget, Jeremy Hunt introduced ‘full expensing’ for companies on qualifying new plant and machinery purchases from 1 April 2023 until 31 March 2026. Under these rules there is a 50% first year allowance for integral features such as solar panels. They are also subject to the £1m annual investment allowance (AIA) which gives 100% relief on eligible assets such as plant and machinery and integral features, including solar panels.

In conclusion, investing in solar power is a great way for British farm owners to reduce their energy costs and make their farm more sustainable. With the added benefits of capital allowances, value-adding and environmental protection, it’s a win-win solution for farmers.

At Thrift Energy, we install solar PV systems for both domestic and commercial sites, including agricultural buildings. Our team can help you with financing and will check for any regional grants that may help you pay for some or all of your solar PV solution.

Ask our experts about commercial solar installation packages and find out how much you could save, by calling 0191 284 24 24.

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