CHARTERED SURVEYORS, LAND AGENTS, ESTATE AGENTS, COMMERCIAL AGENTS, LETTING AGENTS, RICS REGISTERED VALUERS
Large Scale Solar

Primarily the best sites will be flat, not overlooked or visible from sensitive areas; outside the Green Belt and without any other designations. They need a 33kV grid connection (large wooden poles) on land in the same ownership.

RH & RW Clutton can secure the best rents (over £1000/acre) and advantageous terms for landowners. Contact Oliver Harwood for specialist advice.

Background

The price of solar panels (though sadly not the steel and aluminium required for the frames and mountings) has fallen to an all time low, quoted as £0.45 per watt - a third of where it stood when the Government cut the Feed in Tariff for large scale solar in August 2011.

Many solar businesses are now keen to progress opportunities, and have financial backing to progress the leasing of land for sites up to 5MWh (a land requirement of about 30-40 acres).

The recommended procedure

Like any large scaled letting, RH & RW Clutton recommends that an informal tender is undertaken. This puts the client in the driving seat, and enables best value to be secured on advantageous terms.

Oliver Harwood, Partner, has been involved in negotiating terms with many developers, and is available to help ensure the best outcome.

This will involve a site survey, investigation of available grid connection capacity, initial planning investigations and preparation of an agreed brief with the client to ensure the likely outcome meets approval.

Once the details are agreed, a full tender detailing the site, the grid and planning background and the client's preferences will be prepared and issued to a selected number of solar operators. The tender documents will provide a set of terms with only the rental payments open to offer, and will secure that the successful bidder is contracted to meet RH & RW Clutton's fees.

On selection of the bidder, RH & RW Clutton will instruct the client's solicitors and secure the option and lease, dealing with planning and other enquiries as required.

On grant of planning consent, RH & RW Clutton will ensure that developer complies with the terms of the lease as to payments and constructs in accordance with the client's wishes.

The financial model

Developers are now securing finance packages based on the "Renewables Obligation" under which presently two Renewable Obligation Certificates are payable.

These are worth about £90MWh, plus the developer will have sales of electricity generated, say £45/MWh, producing an income of up to £135MWh.

One comparable development is Westmill Solar Farm near Swindon. The 30-acre site has 20,000 polycrystalline solar panels and produces 4,400MWh per year, giving a gross income of around £594,999 or £20,000/acre before finance management and insurance costs. RH & RW Clutton can secure advantageous rents for the right sites.

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