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Solar PV in Agriculture: on your roofs and in your fields? Paul Cottington (NFU)



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  • Go through the newspaper articles and hwo CC is such a major media issue. But is it for the good? Are we green washign and can we make it real? The answer lies in dvelopign a green economy which recognises environmental limits.
  • Workign in partnership


  • 1. Solar PV in Agriculture: on your roofs and in your fields? Paul Cottington Environment Adviser National Farmers Union of England and Wales Farming Futures Worthy Farm, Somerset: 16 November 2010 The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members
  • 2. Content
    • The NFU and renewables and solar PV
    • The media and perception
    • Why the South West and why solar PV
    • Where do you start?
    • Feed In Tariffs and the creation of a market
    • The issue of scale
  • 3. The NFU and the UK agricultural sector
    • The National Farmers' Union of England and Wales (NFU) represents the interests of some 10,000 members in the South West
    • With 75 per cent of national land area in the agricultural sector ( 18 million hectares ), farmers are in the front line of climate change, and adapt to the weather constantly on a daily and yearly basis
    • Farmers are well-placed to capture renewable natural energy flows, while maintaining our traditional role in food production as well delivering other environmental and land management services
    • The NFU is engaged with several government departments in directing climate change and renewable energy policy into real economic opportunities for our sector
    • Producers and processors of food worldwide have a long history of using solar energy for growing and drying of crops - solar PV is just the latest twist!
  • 4. A wide choice of renewables for farmers
  • 5. How easy is it for people to get the wrong end of the stick about what is happening?
  • 6. Herd of 200 cows 'produces as much greenhouse gas as a family car driven 3,000 miles’ - The Daily Mail 21 st October 2008
  • 7.  
  • 8.  
  • 9.
    • still very ‘new’ news – a torrent of commercial and media interest since Feed-In Tariffs introduced in April 2010, but most projects still under development
    • both roof scale and field scale PV can supplement farm incomes and sustain rural livelihoods in many parts of England and Wales (not just the southwest)
    14 May 2010
  • 10. Why the South West?
    • Financial incentives (Feed in Tariffs)
    • Higher than national average hours of sunshine.
    • Receives the highest levels of solar irradiation.
  • 11. Where do I start? – typical farmer concerns (1)
    • Step 1: consider switching energy suppliers, conduct a self-audit of energy use, keep more detailed energy records, building sub-metering
    • Step 2: implement simple low-cost energy efficiency measures (maintenance, cheap upgrades, behavioural change)
    • Step 3: more costly investment in energy-efficient technology
    • Explore what financial instruments (grants, soft loans, revenue incentives) are available for various measures, including renewables
  • 12. Where do I start? – typical farmer concerns (2)
    • Step 4: explore on-site energy generation, energy independence – conduct options appraisal for various renewable energy technologies
    • Step 5: consider whether to export renewable energy services (economies of scale, technical potential, grid connection, sizing of project, etc.)
    • Step 6: estimate energy yield, look at siting / location on buildings or land, begin consultation with neighbours, local community and local planners, get detailed quotes from technology providers…
    • FINALLY – look at signing option agreement and lease (if renting land or roof space)
    • The NFU recommends seeking independent professional advice for many of these steps
  • 13. The issue of scale
  • 14.
    • Large-scale deployment presents new challenges:
    • compatibility of solar energy capture with agricultural production
    • mitigation of visual impact
    • learn lessons from wind power – NIMBYs!
    USA Portugal Could these be deployed in UK? What works in Florida may not be popular here!
  • 15. Are these more acceptable to planners, public and media? Roof-mounted PV for intensive livestock housing – most photos courtesy of Horizon Energy B.V./ SunFarmers, Rotterdam, The Netherlands PV can meet on-site electricity needs for heating, feeders, ventilation
  • 16. Defra vision of low-carbon agriculture Agricultural sector needs to respond with its own diverse vision of low-carbon farming
  • 17. Working in partnership
  • 18. UK Feed-in Tariffs – so far, so good
    • Since 1-Apr-10, attractive tariffs across a range of scales, index-linked for 25 years (good risk) – reduces payback time from 15-20 years to ~8-10 years
    • Detailed guidance slow to emerge on operation of scheme (OFGEM rules, settlement with electricity suppliers)
    • Major confusion on capital grants / FITs: now apparently compatible up to ~150 kW (subject to EU State Aids de minimis)
    • Definition of a ‘site’ and rules for phased extension of generating capacity
    • UK market still little developed: first few case studies just commissioning now
    Largest in UK to date: Worthy Farm (Glastonbury) 201 Kw (photo courtesy of Farming Futures and SolarSense)
  • 19. The NFU recommends seeking independent professional advice
  • 20. Thank you