York-based Green Building Renewables says farms are warming to solar energy.

So far this year, its Scarborough office has installed over 500kW of solar systems at more than 15 farms across North Yorkshire and the East Coast.

More than ten are working farms, as well as former farms that have converted to commercial operations like holiday complexes and manufacturing.

The company says investing in solar panels can offer substantial financial benefits for farms. Not only do they reduce energy bills, but they can also generate income through the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) - an incentive that provides financial rewards for generating renewable electricity and exporting excess power back to the grid. Additionally, solar battery storage systems allow farms to store excess energy during sunny periods and utilise it during high demand, further maximising savings.

Peter Southwell of Southwell and Knapton in Sancton, York, who recently installed solar PV systems on two farms in Sancton and Beverley, said: “We needed to future-proof our business from the current and future energy crises. Investing in renewables has allowed this as well as reducing our carbon footprint on the farm, which will be increasingly important as we move towards net zero.

“The energy price crisis has dramatically impacted farms over the region and country in the last eighteen months. Installing solar panels allows us to lower our energy bills and be less reliant upon the grid.”

Manor House Farm, an arable farm in Garton-on-the-Wold, recently had a 30kW ground mount solar PV system fitted with three Tesla Powerwall2 installed by Green Building Renewables.

Chris Massey of Massey Farmers LTD said: “The agricultural sector faces many challenges in the future. Energy prices have already been one of them. Installing a solar PV system and battery storage reduces our reliance on the grid and the volatility around fossil fuels.

“We want to transition towards more sustainable energy systems, and companies like Green Building Renewables can play a huge role in helping farms to achieve this.”

Managing director of Green Renewables, Chris Delaney, said: “The recent work that our Scarborough Office has done reflects a growing trend that we are seeing across the country of farms, and other commercial buildings, adopting solar energy to power their operations.

“Energy costs are still very high, having more than doubled in the past five years, and despite a temporary decline over the summer, all evidence suggests that the long-term trend for energy prices is still upwards.

“For high-energy use industries like farming, the payback time on installing a solar PV system is relatively short.

“When farmers factor in energy storage options and sell surplus energy back to the grid, they can see huge dividends from investing in solar for their farm.”

Green Building Renewables can be found at: https://www.greenbuildingrenewables.co.uk/