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Here’s why more landowners are hosting renewable developments than ever.

As a landowner, you may have noticed an increased interest from developers looking to build renewable energy sites on your land.  

The UK’s ever-nearing target to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to Net Zero by 2050 is a significant driver for this – particularly as renewable energy developments have a prominent part to play in achieving this goal. 

At the same time, more landowners across the country are working with these developers to host renewable developments on their land. Aside from the environmental benefits of renewables, however, what are the motivations behind this choice for landowners? 

Read on to discover why renewable energy developments are so popular with landowners. You’ll also find out how you can start the process of having a renewable hub developed on your own land. 

Here are the top five reasons landowners are choosing to host renewable energy developments: 

1. It’s a great opportunity earn a dependable, diverse, and long-term income 

Perhaps one of the top benefits of leasing your land to a renewable developer is that it will provide you with an additional and reliable source of income. In fact, competitive rental incomes for renewable developments are typically significantly more than agricultural rates. 

What’s more, as renewable developments are operational for around 40 years, you will be able to enjoy this revenue for the long term, thereby supporting your succession planning and enabling you to future-proof your assets. 

2. You can continue certain agricultural practices while the development operates

An understandable concern for landowners is that, due to the land sizing requirements for a renewable development (75+ acres for a solar farm and 1-3 acres for Energy Storage Systems), they may not be able to carry on with their usual agricultural practices. 

The good news, however, is that renewable developments offer an opportunity for heightened land use; for example, a carefully designed solar farm will allow for the grazing of small livestock to continue.  

In fact, a 2023 research study found that sheep in fields of solar panels graze more than those on native rangeland. These sheep are generally also healthier due to the positive impact of solar panels on soil quality and vegetation (more on this below).  

Solar panels in a field at sunset, representing the benefits of renewable energy developments for landowners

3. Renewable developments can preserve the long-term quality of your land 

Due to the temporary nature of renewable hubs, developers can put provisions in place to ensure that, once the project reaches the end of its life, your land will be returned to its original condition.  

In some cases, you may even find that the quality of your land’s soil improves, as the land will have had time to recover from any intensive farming work you have previously carried out.  

Our developments at Innova are temporary in nature. So, when the land is returned to you in its prior condition, you will benefit from this improvement if you decide to resume your previous agricultural practices. 

4. Renewable developments also contribute to Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) 

From February 2024, it has been a requirement for all developers in England to provide 10% BNG on all the habitats located in a development’s redline boundary.  

This means that, when a renewable energy development is built on your land, you can expect at least a 10% enhancement in the wildlife and natural habitats that currently exist there. This ensures a positive overall positive impact on the local environment. 

5. You’ll be part of something that also benefits your local community 

Renewable developments can bring an abundance of benefits to your local community. For example, in 2021, the Office for National Statistics estimated that there were around 247,000 jobs in the UK linked to the Low Carbon and Renewable Technology Sector. 

At Innova specifically, for all our projects from 2023 onwards, we donate to a Community Benefit Fund, which can then be used to benefit the community however is deemed best. We will also donate to a local charity that has been nominated by the community. Alternatively, we’ll donate to a preapproved national charity that aligns with Innova’s values. 

In summary, from financial incentives to environmental enhancements, hosting renewable energy developments can be truly advantageous for landowners. 

Our next article will explore other considerations you should make before agreeing to have a renewable development built on your land. 

In the meantime, if you are considering leasing your land for a renewable development, be sure to download and read  The Landowner’s Guide to Renewable Energy Developments 

Created by Innova’s in-house land experts, it shares all the information you’ll need to know about hosting a renewable development, including the development process, answers to frequently asked questions, and more. 

Get the guide

Author: Michael Allworth, Land Director at Innova.