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Farm succession planning: how renewables could help

We explore how farm diversification into solar or battery storage could be the missing piece of the puzzle in your farm’s succession plan.

Planning for the future is important. For farmers and landowners, having a succession plan in place is both a personal and business decision. Farm succession planning is not the easiest topic of conversation. But handing over the reins of your farm to the next generation is an important, and often complicated, milestone. And one that needs careful thought.

Transition planning could be particularly challenging if your children are not willing or able to take on the family farm. It’s not the right choice for everyone. But if your land has been in the family for generations, you may be looking for ways to avoid it leaving family hands.

Renewables could be one option to consider. Farm diversification into solar or battery storage could enable future generations to retain ownership of the land and continue to receive an income from it – but in a low-touch way that better fits with their life goals.

How does farm diversification work?

If you have 50+ acres of Grade 3-5 agricultural land, plus a nearby grid connection, it could be the perfect location for a solar farm or battery storage asset. Your family would retain ownership of the land, but you’d lease it to Centrica Energy Assets on a long-term contract.

In return you – and your successors – would receive a secure, predictable, long-term income that can support your family for years to come. You’ll also be supporting the UK’s energy transition to net zero. And, as promoting biodiversity is a key pillar of our energy projects, you’ll also help with re-wilding of land.

How involved do your successors have to be?

We’re a 200-year-old company, so we genuinely understand the importance of stewardship. We appreciate that the decisions that are made today will have impact for years to come. Whenever we build a new solar farm or battery storage asset, we know it’s our duty to protect the land it’s built on and engage with the local community to make the transition as smooth as possible.

You and your family don’t need to be involved in the technical side of building and operating the energy asset. Once we’ve agreed a partnership, we’ll take responsibility for obtaining the relevant consents, such as planning permission and grid applications; we’ll design, construct and test the new energy asset; and we’ll take responsibility for its ongoing maintenance, along with the upkeep of your land. In short, we can take care of the whole process. Of course, if you’d like to be involved at various points along the way, we’d be more than happy – creating a lasting partnership is our goal.

I’m interested in exploring how renewables could fit in my farm’s succession plan – what now?

As with all business decisions, it’s important that you seek out independent, professional advice to understand the legal and tax implications of leasing your land for a solar farm or battery storage asset. You should also seek advice on how it would impact your eligibility for agricultural property relief within inheritance tax planning. As part of our partnership, we would be happy to support with the costs associated with this.

Another important first step is to confirm whether your land is a suitable site for an energy asset to be located. If you’re interested in starting a conversation, please complete the form and share a few details about your land, and one of the team will be in touch.

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