John Forster, Chair of solar roofing business Forster Group talks about using green energy.

Agriculture production accounts for approximately 80% of Scotland’s land mass, with farmers, crofters and growers producing output worth around £2.9 billion each year.

Worldwide, solar energy is the ‘star performer’ in the shift towards renewable power, with the amount invested in the technology (this year $380 billion) set to overtake the amount of money flowing into oil production.

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The adoption of solar power is increasing simply because it is one of the cheapest and greenest sources of power available.

The ease and speed at which photovoltaic (PV) panels can be installed on farms is impressive, and as the ENA's Strategic Connections Group set about implementing ‘quick win’ changes to the connection process, customers seeking connection to the distribution networks can expect to see even quicker access.

Generating electricity from solar is already helping many Scottish farmers and food producers absorb the shocks of continued rising energy prices.

We can demonstrate not only the cost saving benefits of solar energy but also the reduction in carbon emissions.

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The latter is particularly important for farms involved in food processing and direct supply to supermarkets where sustainability in the supply chain is becoming increasingly important.

With the right solar installation, the standard unit cost of electricity of, say 75 or 80 pence per kW, can be reduced to just 7 pence.

Farmers installing PV systems today, particularly those with high electricity demand, can expect to make a return on investment of between 15 and 20 per cent.

Forster Group recently installed a roof-mounted system with 168 panels on a 700-acre potato farm. After just 4 months, he is reaping outstanding benefits with a 40% reduction in electricity bills.

Rooftop systems like this offer a convenient option for those wanting to capitalise on their existing roof space to maximise their use of free renewable energy.

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Alternatively, ground-mounted solar PV panels provide another practical solution for generating renewable energy where roof space might not be available, offering maximum sun exposure and higher energy production.

Farming customers often tell us that the solar systems we installed for them say, ten years ago, have performed exactly as we said they would and that they have achieved excellent returns on their investment.

Now, however, intensive energy users want advice on the best way of extending their system’s capacity - possibly through additional panels or battery storage. We are ready to offer advice on the best and most economic configuration to achieve this.