Some key elements regarding Large Scale Solar Farms in the NFU briefing in March 2015 are as follows:
Solar electricity has received government support since April 2010 under the Feed-in Tariffs (for small and medium sized projects), and more recently under the Renewables Obligation and Contracts for Difference schemes (for large scale installations).
According to the government, solar PV is one of eight key renewable energy technologies most likely to build a low-carbon economy in the UK. It is highly versatile and scaleable, with deployment possible in a wide range of locations: on both domestic and commercial buildings (including on farm buildings) as well as in ground-mounted "solar farms".
Solar power is now the most popular investment for farmers diversifying and future-proofing their energy costs. The NFU policy briefing on solar PV has been updated again to reflect further developments in the deployment of both solar rooftops and solar farms.
Solar farms are a temporary and reversible use of farmland - the modules are typically mounted on screw piles or driven piles, easily removed at the end of the planning consent period, enabling the land to return to agriculture.
What is Solar Power?
Solar power (often referred to as photovoltaics or solar PV – as opposed to solar energy for water and space heating, which uses different technology) involves the capture of light energy from the sun to produce an electric current.
How long have Large Scale Solar Farms been around?
Entire fields of PV modules or “solar farms” have appeared in Britain only since 2011, although they
were deployed in Germany and other European countries from around 2005.
Growers and processors of food worldwide have a long history of using the sun’s energy for growing and drying of crops, and solar PV adds a modern twist to the farmer’s relationship with the sun. PV panels or modules are long-lived (up to 40-50 years) and require very little maintenance since they have no moving parts. With its relatively modest visual impact, solar PV is regarded by many experts as one of the most environmentally-benign renewable energy technologies, enjoying a consistently high public approval rating.
(Source: NFU Briefing Report: NFU - the most successful representation body for agriculture and horticulture in England and Wales)
To download the NFU Report please click on the following PDF link: