In the recent four years, solar photovoltaic energy (PV) has been placed on various farm
companies. Including its capability to reduce energy costs and lessen the carbon footprint
of food production, this method has already been demonstrated. In contrast, it is a
significant advantage where most energy may be utilised within the business. This article
examines the advantages of acquiring land for Northern Ireland solar farms and
summarises the solar energy market sector.

What Are Solar Farms?

Photovoltaic (PV) solar farms are enormous gatherings of PV solar panels which gather
solar energy from the sun, transform it into electricity, and afterwards, deliver the
electricity to the power grid for distribution to and use by consumers, including you.
Northern Ireland solar farms, also called solar parks or photovoltaic power stations, create
electricity from solar panels placed on the ground instead of roofs.

The Solar Energy Market In Northern Ireland

It is not remarkable that solar energy contributes to about 60% of the world’s significant
new renewable capacity, considering the industry’s stable, ongoing development over the
recent few years, as reported by the International Energy Agency (IEA). From its present
capacity factor of 13.08 GW, Northern Ireland’s solar capacity is expected to increase by2030. Nevertheless, this performance still needs to catch up on the 40 GW in 2030 objective
established by the Climate Change Committee as an aspect of their Net Zero Pathway and
leaves much to be desired because of their objective of 85 GW by 2050.

With the price of commercial solar PV being decreased by 85% internationally from 2010
to 2020, solar energy is getting more accessible. This is wonderful news for landowners as
the market is currently booming. Landowners will be required to have or be close to a grid
connection to the National Grid with a lot of available grid capacity nearby to make the
most of this possibility (from 5MW – 120MW).

Benefits Of Solar Farms

• Less noticeable than other forms of renewable energy.

Solar farms have a considerably less noticeable effect compared to other renewable energy
methods like anaerobic digestion and wind turbines. They don’t make any noise and can
also be hidden by fences or vegetation. Safety, operation, and upkeep could all be
constantly observed.

• Chances for solar farms to make money.

Solar farm leases are subsidy-free and range between £850 to £1,100 per acre each year,
based on location and size. Rental income from solar farms continues to function strongly.
‘Top up’ revenue rents, which regularly achieve percentages of approximately 4-6%,
provide another incentive for landowners. This implies that the landowner receives a top-
up payment equal to the distinction between the two amounts when the developer’s
income exceeds the acreage-based rent by more than 6%. The issue is that to obtain these rates; several factors should be taken into consideration, such as the site’s exposure to
solar radiation and a variety of expenses, such as the price of constructing, installing, and
financing, as well as connecting to the national grid.

It’s critical to remember that normally, developers cover the price of legal and
development services, freeing up the landowner to earn rental money. The long-term
financial benefit from solar is an extra advantage. Although lease agreements are usually 30
to 50 years, solar energy can offer several years of guaranteed, index-linked rental income
that could be handed through the generations with the land.

• It is simple to decommission solar farms.

A solar farm could also be quickly decommissioned if the site is desired for another use
after the leasing time. Nevertheless, caution should be exercised when arranging lease
agreements that include a decommissioning bond

 The usage of land for grazing or restoration is still available.

The majority of solar farms are designed such that the area can also be utilised for livestock
grazing, mainly sheep or chickens, providing the facility with a double function.
Nevertheless, caution should be exercised while arranging leasing agreements to ensure
the operator assumes the responsibility of protecting the solar array against any harm, for
instance, by sheep. Because the ground could be planted with wildflowers and grass
mixtures, it can also be utilised to increase diversity. Because of the resulting draw for
insects and other pollinators, less appealing land can once more be placed to good

Largest Northern Ireland Solar Farms

  1. Bann Road Solar Farm

    The biggest solar farm in Northern Ireland, Bann Road, is vital to supplying local people with renewable energy. The Antrim County project’s 45.7 MWp capacity produces sufficient electricity to run roughly 20,000 houses. And will save roughly a million tonnes of CO2 over its whole existence. They had just a few months to change around a highly detailed sculpture divided over two locations for the 194-acre project, which had to be
    completed by March 2017. They employed specialized DURA-BASE-matting that practically “floats” so over soggy ground.

    Notwithstanding tough circumstances and a short schedule, Bann Road was finished on time. It produces 851 kWh/kWp, demonstrating good yield performance. The DNO can monitor site performance second by second. Its skilled maintenance and operations team is ensuring that Bann Road functions at maximum effectiveness and productivity now that it is completely operating.
  2. Dunore Solar Farm

    In South Antrim’s Dunore Water Treatment Works (WTW), one of Northern Ireland’s major
    treatment facilities, NI Water constructed a £7 million solar farm employing 24,000 solar panels, reducing their carbon footprint substantially. This project transformed a green field into a green power station. The Dunore solar farm, NI Water’s main undertaking, is finished. In Northern Ireland, the firm is the biggest electricity consumer. By 2021, NI Water intends to use 40% more renewable energy. Approximately 2000 tonnes of carbon will be saved annually by this flagship project.

    The main electricity consumer in the province is NI Water, while Dunore is its third-largest energy-consuming facility, contributing to 7% of its yearly usage. The company’s aim to bring benefits to consumers and the environment includes the Dunore Solar Farm prominently.


Numerous businesses are now preparing to construct solar farms in Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland solar farms typically span many hectares, with a 5 MW farm.
Approximately one-third of the ground is occupied by rows of panels, allowing plants to
develop between them. These solar farms provide a variety of insect, bird, and mammal
ecosystems, which benefits biodiversity. They provide landowners with a consistent return
on their investments for at least two decades. It includes dedicating the land’s use to energy
generation and fencing it off for safety.