Land owners – Solar PV: FAQ

What funds do I need?

None – Livos Energy will fund the planning application and full project costs. We’ll also pay legal fees up to £1,000. In our experience, it is more time efficient to use lawyers with renewable energy experience. We can put you in contact with a number of solicitors who are experts in the renewable development field.

Can I still farm my land?

The site needs to be an area of at least 30 acres/12 hectares to qualify for the development of our minimum project requirement of a 5MW solar farm. The best sites are flat, well screened by hedges, tree lines, etc. and should not cause undue impact to nearby domestic properties or roads. Ideally this would be grade 3b, 4 or 5 land. We discourage the use of good grade agricultural land for such developments. Grazing is still a possibility for sheep farmers.

How long does it take?

The normal timescale is typically a year in total from start to finish, but could be as little as 6 months.

What are the requirements for road access?

An initial desktop study will be implemented by a specialist Livos Energy engineer after which they will inspect the roads if deemed necessary. Commonly, if a road is capable of HGV access it will be suitable for the delivery of equipment to the site. A reasonable route to site minimising the impact on local residents and other road users will be devised.

What if I only rent the land?

We will then need to speak to the landowner to ensure lease terms are swiftly agreed by both parties.

Can I get my electricity from the Solar Farm?

The costs are normally prohibitive unless the site has a significant energy requirement i.e. for warehouse facilities, dairy farms, chicken units, grain drying, etc.

Will the solar panels cause any glint or glare?

The solar panels are designed to absorb rather than reflect light and pose little risk of glint or glare. Indeed solar panels have been installed at Gatwick Airport, as well as next to major roads and sports car racetracks such as the ‘Top Gear’ test track.

What are the chances of my site obtaining planning permission?

An assessment of the chances of success will be provided by our experienced in-house planning staff once we have carried out the initial desk-based and other assessments. We will not progress sites unless they have a good prospect of gaining planning permission. With that said, the industry average for gaining solar consents is very high.

What happens at the end of the Solar Farm’s life?

We decommission the solar photovoltaic array at the end of its life. We may also look to renegotiate a deal with the landowner for a new lease and if necessary to fit a new equipment.

How does Solar Photovoltaic (PV) technology work?

Solar panels convert sunlight into electricity with no moving parts or noise. When sunlight strikes a solar panel it causes electrons to become excited and move through the structure of the panel. Solar panels generate direct current (DC) electricity, which needs to go through an inverter to convert it to alternating current (AC). With ground mounted PV systems, solar panels are linked together to form arrays which are known as ‘strings’. Several strings are connected in parallel with an inverter, which feeds the power into the grid.

Do Solar Farms compete with food production?

Clearly if productive agricultural land is converted into a solar farm it cannot grow crops. We therefore discourage this. Sheep, however, can be grazed under solar PV arrays. Solar Farms are ideally developed and installed on brown field sites or land which has been classified as lower grade i.e. grade 3b, 4 or 5 (according to the Agricultural Land Classification scheme) and any impact on food production is less likely.