Saturday, June 19, 2021

Yorkshire renewable energy firm to deliver solar farms for farmers

Firma, the Yorkshire-based renewable energy company, is delivering a portfolio of solar PV projects in the UK with its partner European Energy.

Firma and Copenhagen-based European Energy are working on 30 separate deals with farmers to build solar farms and grid connected battery storage systems across the country.

This partnership is combining European Energy’s experience of safely and responsibly developing Solar PV, including the biggest solar farm in northern Europe, with the local expertise of Firma to create a portfolio of solar PV opportunities for investment in the UK to benefit landowners, communities and the climate.

Rufus Salter, founder and Managing Director of Firma, said: “Our link-up with European Energy, one of the leading global renewable energy companies, was built on my previous company Norstar’s partnership with EE.

“Norstar was a diversified business with property development and renewable energy interests, we decided to form Firma as a distinct standalone business consolidating our green energy interests.

“Firma was born out of a desire to focus solely on the delivery of onshore renewable energy projects across the UK with strong partners like European Energy. Having looked at EE’s business model and development plans, and then talking to them, I knew at once that we could develop a successful partnership.

“We have hit the ground running, with 30 agricultural sites, primarily in the north of England, at various stages of development. We have found farmers very receptive to our risk-free offer to build solar farms on land which is currently under-used.

“As solar farm developers, we do all the heavy lifting. Ideally, our farms will be installed and commissioned on agricultural sites of 50 acres or more, as one contiguous block or separated by hedgerows, and leased, with annual rent reviews, for 30 years.”

Mr Salter believes these are exciting times for the renewables industry, with the Government recently unveiling its Energy White Paper with a £4bn plan, aiming to eradicate the UK’s contribution to climate change by 2050.

“The Government is supportive as it knows it needs more renewables as part of the energy mix. The increase in the take-up of electric cars and the proposed global ban on gas boilers in 2025 will only add to the demand for cheap clean electricity. What was once seen as a dirty energy generated by coal, is now seen as the greenest option.

“Looking to the future, I hope the government and the grid network operators continue to support the development of appropriate renewable energy projects through continued investment in policy and infrastructure.

“Looking ahead, we are considering grid-connected battery storage projects as both stand-alone installations and co-located with our energy parks to help manage and balance the grid to ensure the crucial stability of supply.

“We are also actively looking at alternative technologies to allow green energy projects to deliver fuels such as hydrogen and methanol, which previously required large amounts of fossil fuels to be burnt in order to deliver. Hydrogen also has the ability to replace natural gas in heating our homes and petrol in powering our cars,” explained Mr Salter.

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