From January 2015, farmers will no longer be entitled to claim subsidies on fields covered by solar panels. The announcement was made by Elizabeth Trust, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural affairs, as a drive to encourage food production from land, and to slow the growth of the land based solar parks throughout England and Wales. This comes on the back of another recent announcement of reduced incentives for large scale land based solar parks from next April, with stricter planning rules. Together these reduce the attractiveness of such investments going forward, with serious need for investment appraisal before embarking upon.
It is also felt that such a move will deliver better value for the taxpayer with a saving in the region of £2m per year, as well as achieving greater benefits for rural communities, wildlife and the wider environment.
However, opportunity and incentive still remains for solar panels on roofs of buildings for example south facing cattle shed, as a source of diversified income and, at present, capital allowances are available to set off against profits of the business.
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