I am a Landowner…
As a landowner what you want to do with your land is of course your decision. Within the confines of the law and planning system of course.
Solar PV developments, especially on the pace that we are seeing in recent years, is still relatively new. And the pitfalls may not be well known. Even by land agents and even by solicitors.
There are many caveats within legislation that may one day catch you out.
For example, are you aware that agricultural land under solar PV panels does not qualify for Agricultural Property Relief? That means the land would be subject to a 40% tax in the event the land is passed on to your heir(s). What is worse, is that because of the guaranteed income from leasing the land, the value of that land is likely to be rated even higher, which equals more tax. That probably wasn’t in the developers sales pitch.
In April 2022 Farmers Weekly arranged a webinar called Solar farm leases.
Whilst the following document is based on law and examples in the US, many of the underlying principles from a UK standpoint may still apply to the contract you have been offered.
Should you still wish to consider solar on your land, may we make two suggestions…
1. Try to pick a reputable developer who will stay with you for the long haul, not just one who will sell on the lease at the earliest possible opportunity.
2. Get some indication from the community as to how they feel about the idea before you sign anything. A good developer will encourage you to do this.
3. Ask to see examples of other solar PV sites they have built and have operated for at least 5 years. Please don’t find yourself in a situation like this one… https://nplsecondnature.com/2022/05/02/when-the-greenwash-rubs-off-the-true-environmental-cost-of-green-energy/