Farmers Get Green Light To Install Solar Panels
Many farmers have already realised the benefits of fitting solar panels, both to cut their energy bills and generate extra income from the Feed-In Tariff. But going through the planning process has put many off installation.
That changed as of 15 April 2015, with amendments to planning laws allowing farmers to install solar panels on agricultural buildings without planning permission.
Change to Permitted Development Rights
Under Permitted Development Rights, roof-mounted photovoltaic (PV) systems generating up to one megawatt of electricity can now be installed on non-domestic buildings.
Prior to the change, the limit was 50 kilowatts, 20 times less – a rule that still applies to domestic premises.
Installations subject to prior approval
While planning permission is not needed under the new rules, solar installations are subject to prior approval. This means farm businesses must submit a written description of the proposed installation along with a site plan.
After submission of the proposal, the local authorities has 56 days to raise any concerns about the design or appearance, especially the impact of glare on neighbouring land.
Opportunity to boost income for farmers
Diversification and finding new ways to boost income is a fact of modern farming life. This extension of Permitted Development Rights offers a chance for farms and other businesses to make energy savings.
To reap the rewards of renewable energy for your business, you’ll just need to comply with the detail of the legislation, such as:
- Restrictions on the position and appearance of the solar equipment
- Requirement to remove the equipment when no longer needed
- Consulting the local authority on the proposed design
For advice or more information, please contact Greensphere Renewable Energy in Newtown, Powys on 01691 688527.