South West landowners are being offered the chance to look on the bright side of life – at a seminar which will explore the opportunities and pitfalls of generating power from the sun.
CLA South West Rural Surveyor, Graham Clark, says the technology for generating electricity from ‘photovoltaic’ solar panels has been around for some years – but, until now, with relatively modest uptake in the UK.
“What’s changed is the introduction of Feed-in-Tariffs earlier this year. These provide guaranteed payments for every unit of renewable power produced over a 25 year period and have significantly improved the economics of solar PV,” said Mr Clark.
The event, which is being organised by the CLA, is being held at Lanhydrock Golf Club, Bodmin, on November 15 and brings together professional advisers who will discuss the solar PV technology and the options for landowners plus planning, financial and legal issues. In addition, there will be opportunities for delegates to hear from and speak directly to leading companies who provide solar panels and others who are looking for land in the South West on which to develop ‘solar parks’
More sunlight, says Mr Clark, means more power generation – therefore solar PV is a more viable option in the sunnier south west. PV also attracts higher Feed in Tariffs than the other renewable technologies - however, he warned that ‘joining rates’ start to fall in 2012 so landowners should consider their options soon.
The seminar will help people assess the most suitable option for their land or buildings, whether they should develop the project themselves and benefit directly from the power generated and from the tariff or whether they should lease land out to a solar developer.
“We will be discussing all the issues including getting planning permission and a grid connection - both significant hurdles to be cleared, but, depending on the circumstances, a solar PV project can not only reduce the exposure of a business to likely future rises in electricity prices but also become a profitable enterprise in its own right.”
Shining a Light on Photovoltaics takes place on Monday 15 November from 9.00 am – 1.45 pm at Lanhydrock Golf Club, Bodmin, Cornwall and places cost £15 for CLA members and £25 non-CLA members. Details are available from the CLA on 01249 700200.