Addressing Net Zero

Guest article written by Alex Monro of Devon Energy Partnership

For the last few years DBL have been focused on reducing carbon emissions for farmers. As part of our new service we want to share some ideas how the farming community can reduce costs and navigate their pathway to net zero.

What is Net Zero?
In May 2019
, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), a non-departmental public body that advises the government on the climate, recommended that the UK should aim to be net zero on all greenhouse gases by 2050. This would keep the UK in line with the commitments it made as part of the 2016 Paris Agreement to keep global warming under 2 degrees.

The current drivers:

  • Investor requirements
  • Legislation – ESOS/SECR - Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)
  • Minimum EPC rating - ‘E’ currently & proposed EPC rating ‘B’ by 2030
  • Risk - Impact on valuation vs cost of retrofit measures to achieve standards
  • Accelerated building obsolescence / stranded assets

4 easy steps to address Net Zero

Step 3 - On roof solar PV for your business

With good sized roofs and unused land, farmers in the South West are in an ideal position to benefit from solar generation. The energy generated can then be used to offset high daily electricity consumption and help protect your farm against future rises in electricity costs. In the last year alone we have seen electricity costs increase by 54% so anything that farmers can do to reduce their reliance on the grid could make the difference between surviving and not. 

The cost of installing solar PV systems has plummeted in recent years. Solar panel technology is now mass-produced, and installation costs are at an all time low. The huge uptake in solar panels within the agriculture sector speaks volumes and is a true testament to the reliability and strong returns offered. A typical commercial solar panel system will provide free electricity for more than 25 years, achieve financial returns of up to 30% per annum and pay back installation costs within approximately 2 - 4 years.

Benefits of installing solar panels:

  • Significantly reduce business overheads – Solar energy is typically a third of the price of grid supplied energy, significantly reducing your costs and improving your bottom line.
  • Secure your future energy - Pre-purchase electricity at a fixed unit price, forecast your long-term energy costs and protect your business against future increases in utility prices.
  • Tax exemptions - Solar panels are classed as plant and machinery and are eligible for Capital Allowances.
  • Achieve a very healthy ROI - A typical commercial solar panel system will provide free electricity for more than 25 years, achieve returns of up to 30% per annum and pay back installation costs within 3 - 4 years (before Capital Allowance benefits).

Finance for solar panels
Whilst self-financing is the most popular option for purchasing solar panels and offers the best returns over the lifetime of a system, we know that many businesses currently have limited budgets or would prefer to spend their capital elsewhere.

As part of our consultative approach, DEP offer guidance as to the finance options that are available for your business as well as provide detailed economic efficiency calculations with your free desktop survey to ensure you understand exactly how and when you can expect to break even, the structure of repayments and the overall profit for your business.

Why Devon Energy Partnership?
Alex and his partners have worked in the energy industry for the last 20 years. He cut his teeth working for EDF Energy heading up the partnerships team in both the B2C and SME businesses. Since leaving EDF Alex was involved with a number of projects including launching a new energy switching division for Mole Valley Farmers through to providing consultancy services to Strutt and Parker rural clients.

DEP and their partners provide a complete engineering, procurement & construction (EPC) service for chamber members. From initial feasibility studies and construction to commissioning and beyond, we will ensure you receive expert advice.

For more information please contact David Quance on 07395 498175  
or e-mail