Solar power: property update
Strategic Energy has devised a lease model to fund photovoltaic (PV) schemes that is ‘cost neutral’. Hafod Housing Association took advantage of this and has agreed a deal to install 10,000 panels on its properties in South Wales. St Vincent’s Housing Association and Arcon Housing Association in Manchester and Cannock Chase District Council are others that have recognised the benefits. The company’s all-equity model developed in partnership with Ernst & Young offers significant rates of return for private equity investors despite cuts to the feed-in tariff (FIT) and length of the scheme from 25 to 20 years. The model was created to help landlords address fuel poverty.
“It is refreshing to see social housing landlords leading the way and recognising the many social benefits installing PV panels will bring to their communities,” said Strategic Energy Director, Martin Davidson.
Meanwhile, Savills Cambridge Agribusiness team reports that over the last year it has installed over 1.25Mw of solar PV on 28 sites across Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Essex. “Many of the schemes have been installed on buildings with high electricity demand, such as cold stores and grain stores,” explained Giles Hanglin from Savills. “Investors and landlords work together in a number of ways but these essentially boil down to paying a ground or roof rent for installing equipment. These rents will either be paid as a capital sum, a proportion of the FIT, cheap or free electricity sold to the landlord – obviously these depend on scheme sizes. Funders are also considering joint ventures with landlords.
“We are obtaining very high ground rents which can easily surpass what a farmer can achieve out of farming an acre of land, in particular marginal agricultural land. It is essentially a beneficial diversification option for marginal land or unutilised roof space.”
Finally, Robinson & Hall’s Renewable Energy Department has won planning consent for the largest solar farm project in the UK. With more than 120,000 solar PV panels covering 125 acres of disused land, the Oxfordshire-based solar farm will have an electricity generating capacity of 27MW, sufficient to power around 6,500 homes. The scheme is likely to be commissioned in early 2013.real estate, solar power
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