We were delighted to be asked to contribute an article to Farming Monthly after they had seen an article by Hugh in another publication. The article below was first published in Farming Monthly's digital edition - September 2017.
2017 saw the first subsidy-free solar farm energise, but the scheme was located with battery storage and had an existing suitable grid connection. The burning question is when could we see a subsidy-free standalone scheme deployed on a new connection?
Behind-the-meter battery storage remains an expensive technology, and the risks of investing unwisely are high if you haven’t done your research and correct planning first. Battery storage is not suited to all sites, not all sites will a business case for scheme and the risks of being mis-sold are high.
Battery storage located ‘behind the meter’ is an emerging market which holds huge potential for energy cost savings and income opportunities for some businesses, farms and estates. We look at what it is, which sites it is suited to and highlight the benefits it can bring to a site.
At the end of September the UK's first subsidy-free solar farm was unveiled. There is no doubt that this scheme is a step forward for the renewables industry. However, even though this scheme was financially viable without any subsidies, it doesn’t mean that every large solar scheme will be, in the short term.
Most of the 'noise' in the energy industry is about the lucrative opportunities from battery storage, and we've written about sites that are suitable for battery storage before. However, batteries are not suitable for all sites or all parts of the electrical grid. A gas genset may be suitable for sites where a battery storage isn't.
Any battery storage or power generation scheme will need a cost-effective grid connection. It may also need planning consents, land rights, the right generation or demand profile, sufficient budget and an appropriate return on investment.
With the power generation and energy storage industry awash with developers and consultants, how can landowners looking to invest in energy schemes be confident that they are making the right decision and investing their time and money in the right company or consultant?