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Green Cash Generator For Farm Buildings


Farmers looking for an additional income stream could earn a 10% return on their investment simply by installing solar panels.

Renewable energy experts, MG Renewables say Government incentives introduced in April 2010 are making solar panels an appealing option for people looking to generate their own electricity.

Over a guaranteed 25 year period, those with panels can expect to generate a significant income and once the savings in electricity are taken into account, the panels will pay for themselves in just eight years.

The incentive, Feed In Tariffs (FITS), is a cash back scheme set up by the Government to encourage and enable people to adopt renewable energy. Payments are made by the power supplier for all units generated with additional cash for units sold back to the grid.

Solar PV systems work by converting sunlight into electricity using cells made up of semi conducting material. When light shines on the cells, it creates an electrical field allowing electricity to flow.

Martin Dowd from MG Renewables sees this as a strong income stream for farmers who can utilise roof space on barns and outbuildings, as well as on their home. The same generation model applies to commercial & industrial properties.

He said: The incentives announced last year certainly makes renewable energy a lot more accessible to a lot of people. The fact a guaranteed income for a 25 year period can be generated means the system pays for itself very quickly. After that, the money made is yours. Long term, it will reduce electricity bills indefinitely, with panels expected to last well beyond 30 years.

For farmers, this seems an easy way to generate income and slash their bills, Add into the equation that there is potentially more roof space that can be used than in a normal domestic installation, and the sums soon start to add up.

The initial outlay for a 4 kWp 30 sqm system is approximately 15,000, but when you bring in the money you can make from power suppliers and the fact you will be producing your own electricity reducing the amount you need to buy in it seems an obvious thing to do both from a commercial and a green point of view.

The financial and environmental benefits of installing the system are numerous. A typical 4 kWp system can save 1.8 tonnes of carbon a year which equates to almost 45 tonnes over a systems lifetime. Thats equivalent to 150,000 car miles.

The system produces no greenhouse gases and has no moving parts which keep maintenance to a minimum.

After installation, electricity costs will begin reducing immediately and the surplus can be sold back under the FITS scheme.

Martin concluded: Since the incentives were introduced weve noticed a surge in enquiries both from domestic and commercial customers. Green energy is taking time to catch on, but slowly and surely people are beginning to see the benefits it can bring to the environment and their pocket.

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