Leasing your land for a solar farm or battery storage asset can help you to earn long-term, stable income – while playing a role in the UK’s journey to net zero.
But is your land suitable for a renewable power development? That could depend on factors such as the size of your land, its location or its legal status. Some points are critical, but others can be worked around. To find out more, just ask yourself the six questions below.
At Centrica Business Solutions, we’re here to help you, so if you have any further queries about the criteria for a solar or battery development, just contact us using the details at the bottom of the page.
If there’s one key to a successful renewable energy project, it’s whether a cost-effective connection from your land to the grid can be readily secured.
For either solar or battery storage, we’d need to access at least a 33kV (33,000-volt) grid connection – and there should also be spare capacity in that part of the grid (we can find out for you whether there is).
This is an important hurdle to cross, because in much of the UK, suitable grid capacity is getting harder to obtain. Be aware of the following tips:
Fortunately, you don’t have to be an expert in grid connections to make the most of the opportunity.
At Centrica Business Solutions, we can help you to identify suitable connections and investigate available options. We would also approach the distribution network operator (DNO) on your behalf, to confirm grid connection and capacity.
The legal or environmental status of your land can also have an effect on its suitability. Check out the following criteria:
For the project to work, the available land will need to be of sufficient size. This is particularly important for a solar farm, where space requirements are larger.
Of course, for solar power, land in the south of the UK – especially the south-east – is the best candidate, because of the sunnier weather conditions. Things get more challenging the further north you go.
The west of Scotland can be particularly difficult because of cloudier conditions (and especially isolated areas, of course, are also less likely to have a suitable grid connection nearby).
When it comes to solar PV, some parts of the country have the potential to deliver better results than others. This map from The World Bank shows where you can expect to see the best results.
Locations in the south of the UK tend to be the best candidates; while cloudier conditions in the west of Scotland can make this a challenging location for solar PV.
© 2020 The World Bank, Source: Global Solar Atlas 2.0, Solar resource data: Solargis.
It’s preferred that the land is away from residential areas, for the following reasons:
For this reason, it’s important to engage with, and discuss your plans with, the local community. A serious developer will support you in this, and will take on board local concerns.
When you’re considering a potential partner, ask them how they will handle this issue. Ultimately, it could affect how likely you are to get consent for the plans.
Finally, there are some practical considerations when it comes to the features of your land. Here they are:
At Centrica Business Solutions, we can help you work out whether a renewable energy development on your land is likely to be successful. To find out more, please contact the Centrica Energy Assets team. We’d be happy to help.
Robert Barker is Head of Origination Development for Centrica Energy Assets. He has worked in the UK solar and renewables industry since 2010 and has an MSc in Renewable Energy Technology. For a number of years, he was also a guest lecturer in solar energy at University of Reading.