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Landowners with plans to install large scale solar PV schemes and take advantage of cash incentives need to lodge their intent soon to avoid a proposal which would drastically reduce the profitability of their installations.

REsolved Renewables, part of the ADAS environmental and agricultural consultancy group said a Government proposal to reduce the financial benefits available for large solar schemes under the Renewable Obligation (RO) programme from April 1st 2013 would wipe 25 per cent off the RO element of financial return in the first year, and a further 13.4 per cent in 2014 and beyond.

The RO constitutes the fundamental financial return received by investors in these schemes.

However, Helen Wyman, farm and renewable energy consultant at REsolved Renewables said if landowners lodged plans before December 1st they would remain eligible for the current rates of return offered by investors which could generate £2,000 per hectare a year.

She said: “Over winter, the Government is consulting on a proposal to revise down the Renewable Obligation incentives attached to solar schemes larger than 5MW in size.

"If the outcome is a reduction, landowners will have missed a prime opportunity to maximise their site’s potential.

"To avoid this they need to register their interest with an approved solar PV provider soon.”

REsolved Renewables offer landowners a risk free opportunity to take advantage of renewable energy incentives such as the Renewable Obligation scheme.

As part of the package, REsolved Renewables carries out the feasibility, planning and installation of equipment. Subsequently the landowner receives an index-linked income in the region of £800 to £1,000 per acre.

When the Feed in Tariff and Renewable Obligation programmes were launched there was a surge in demand for PV on farms located south of a line between Birmingham and The Wash, where sunlight intensity makes the arrays commercially viable, said Mrs Wyman.

She added that as long as landowners were in southern counties, had 15ha of open land and access to a 33kV powerline, they satisfied the basic constraints for a significant solar array on their land.

“The financial benefits of installing solar PV on farmland in southern regions are significant if the land in question is suitable.

"However the upcoming consultation risks reducing the return on investment and if farmers are serious about looking into solar PV installations I would urge them to get in touch soon,” said Mrs Wyman. For more information, visit www.re-solved.co.uk.