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One third of farmers plan on renewables investment in next two years

The vast majority of farmers (82 per cent) who are looking to invest in renewable energy are motivated by concerns over rising energy costs, according to new research* from Barclays, with one in three farmers (33 per cent) looking to make a renewables investment in the next two years.

According to the research, over one quarter (27 per cent) of farmers see rising costs as the single biggest threat to their business in the next five years, with one in ten (10 per cent) also worried about price volatility.

Almost a third (31 per cent) expect the move towards renewables to reduce their business costs or generate an income of between £5,000 to £20,000 a year.

Commenting on the research, Martin Redfearn, Head of Agriculture at Barclays, said: “Most farmers see a move towards renewable energy as another form of diversification – and rightly so, as it can substantially cut energy costs and create new revenue.

“Over half of farmers considering renewables are still undecided about when they will actually make the investment. Investment in this relatively new technology is a big step, but there is plenty of support out there for farmers who want to know more. Talking to your accountant or your bank relationship manager can be a key first step towards finding out whether it is right for your farm.”

Barclays has been a key supporter of moves by farmers to diversify into renewable energy, last year establishing a £100 million fund for lending to renewable energy farming projects.

For those who have invested in or are considering investing in renewables, the favored forms are solar (51 per cent) and wind (43 per cent). Biomass (15 per cent), ground source (4 per cent) and hydro (2 per cent) remain less popular choices for investment.

Of those farmers who are not considering investing in renewable energy, the main reason given was that it would be too expensive (18 per cent). Other reasons given include lack of time to consider (15 per cent), a lack of understanding as to how it would help (13 per cent) and Return on Investment (11per cent).

*Research carried out by The National Farm Research Unit in May 2012, amongst 383 dairy and cereal farmers

Tags: Market Research, Solar Digest

Barclays, The National Farm Research Unit,