Wednesday 28 September 2016

Don't get burned by solar deals

Published 08/03/2016 | 02:30

Teagasc specialist Barry Caslin urged farmers to consider before signing up to a potentially longterm solar lease provision.
Teagasc specialist Barry Caslin urged farmers to consider before signing up to a potentially longterm solar lease provision.

Landowners considering signing solar energy contracts must be aware there are no professional standards which developers are required to follow, a Teagasc bioenergy expert has warned.

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Barry Caslin urged farmers to carefully consider the many aspects of signing up to a potential longterm lease for solar provision.

He urged farmers to look for safeguards in the lease that protect the landowner if the developer goes out of business.

"The developer should take out an insurance policy which covers public liability and any other consequential losses. This policy should be made available to the landowner," he said.

"Conditions of the lease need to be clarified at the start such as the restoration of the land to the condition it was in prior to the construction. This should include land drainage, repair to farm roadways, and removal of the solar panels."

Mr Caslin said the Agriculture Department have informed advisors that the Basic Payment Scheme will be only be payable on land where less than 70pc of the area is occupied by panels and other features such as cabling or roadways.

See Farm Finance - Page 15

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