If you're a farmer or farm owner in Great Ayton, you're probably looking for ways to cut costs. Farming has never been a vocation for the faint-hearted, but the financial pressures on the farming community in Great Ayton have increased dramatically in recent times.
One possible answer is to invest in renewable energy, and solar panels for farms in Great Ayton in particular are a wise choice.
It's no secret that the world of farming is facing difficult times. In many cases, crop production yields very little income and it's a real struggle to break even let alone make a profit.
Because of this, expenditure has to be cut right back, but escalating overheads, including energy bills, are a constant worry. In 2020, UK farms used an average 134,000kWh of electricity, costing something in the region of £21,000. In comparison, the average domestic household used about 3,000kWh.
That figure has no doubt risen drastically since then due to the huge rises in energy prices, and the commercial and agricultural sector has been particularly badly hit. What's more, unless the situation changes or the government takes positive action to curb the energy industry's plans, energy prices are set to keep rising for at least the next decade.
With help from Skylamp Solar in Great Ayton, you can take control of your finances again by installing solar panels.
It all depends on your needs, intentions, and the nature of your farming work.
Basically, there are three types of panels:
Solar thermal is the oldest of the three and only provides hot water. In a domestic setting, this can provide all the hot water required for daily use (although it often needs a helping hand in winter) but isn't always adequate for heating the home without additional equipment.
However, a large thermal array could reduce your energy bill for hot water by around 50%, which would be useful in high-energy agricultural sectors like dairy farming.
Solar PV panels have become extremely popular in domestic and commercial settings in the last decade or so. Solar PV technology is constantly being improved, and the panels are built to last for at least twenty-five years. Some will continue to work for up to forty years!
Hybrid systems are also excellent, although installation costs are generally higher as they are a fairly new addition and the technology is unfamiliar to many solar panel engineers.
On the whole, solar PV systems are probably the most practical and sensible choice overall, particularly for large-scale solar projects.
*Some solar panel companies and websites talk about a different type of hybrid system, but this is really a special kind of solar inverter that monitors the flow of electricity generated by the panels, the national grid and the battery storage. It's an intelligent system that switches between sources according to which is the best one at the time.
Many farmers and landowners earn an income from large-scale installations across the UK.
Due to their size, large-scale solar farms will require planning permission and you should be aware that they are often opposed. However, those that are against solar farms invariably form their opinions based on misinformation and misunderstanding.
Numerous studies prove that solar farms are actually beneficial to the local environment, and can work hand in hand with normal farming methods (sheep grazing, for example).
Also, despite claims to the contrary, solar farms only cover 0.1% of all land in the UK - that's less than 0.5% of all agricultural land. The vast majority of these solar farms operate silently and without causing any problems at all.
Aside from these issues, you will need to be connected to the power grid in order to export the electricity that your solar panels produce.
The size of your solar farm will depend on how much land you have to spare, and how much energy you expect to generate. Solar farms range from one acre up to one-hundred acres, so you'll need to assess this yourself to see what size is most practical.
Without knowing the system size and solar panel type, it's impossible to offer a quote that's helpful in any way. The total cost could be as low as £5,000 or well over £80,000 depending on the size of your farm and your energy needs.
In essence, you don't need planning permission for solar panels on non-domestic buildings as they are considered permitted development. However, you will need to submit a written application and a site plan for prior approval for a solar installation on your farm.
Yes, if you have a few acres of land that is not overshadowed and is located near a powerline to easily hook up to the grid then you can generate a lot of electricity. Possibly 1 megawatt or more, enough to power 100s of homes should you sell that energy back to the UK energy grid.
Yes you can still grow crops and farm animals on the same land as the solar panels. It would just be a case of fencing off the area to stop any damage. The height of any crops or animals is unlikely to overshadow the solar farm.