FARMERS considering environmentally friendly diversification – and looking for long-term secure returns – are being encouraged to consider leasing their land for solar development.

As the cost of solar panels comes down, and government policy becomes more focussed on creating a low carbon economy, the UK's large-scale solar market is thriving, opening up the opportunity for farmers to get involved.

Solar specialist Quintas Group is currently working with agricultural consultancy Active Business Partnerships, to source land for solar development, where suitable grid connection capacity can be identified in conjunction with high solar irradiance – the power per unit area of energy received from the sun.

Angus Bell at ABP is positive that the new collaboration with Quintas Group will ensure that farmers and landowners get a diversification option which is looking after their best interests: “Solar farms are a good opportunity to diversity into a 20–30-year long index-linked income stream which will help maintain resilience while the farming industry evolves through the biggest policy changes for the last 40 years.

“Given the current changes we are experiencing within the industry which is having to recalibrate post-Brexit, we see solar farms as a positive option not only for the landowner but also as part of the solution that the farming industry can deliver as we progress towards a low carbon economy,” he said.

“ABP has been highly involved with all stages of the process and can offer expertise in all aspects of incorporating a solar enterprise into your business,” adds Angus.

Quintas Group already has over 200 UK solar farms under its management, and claims expertise in understanding how to develop, construct and manage solar farms in a way that benefits all stakeholders.

“We understand that local stakeholders are key to the success of the development, construction and operation of solar farms," said the group's Shirine Azzi. "That is why we want to work closely with landowners who are interested in leasing land for solar development. Our ethos is to develop good quality sites as we are in it for the long run. The solar plants will be built to last and will remain with the same owner and under the same asset management long after construction.

“This means that landowners will be able to turn to us, a single counterparty, with any questions or concerns, from inception of the development process through to construction and then through to the plant being operational.

“Your lease agreement can also be tailored to include any special requirements you may have. For example, if you Farmers interested in finding out more about this solar project, or with land they'd be interested in putting forward for solar energy, should email