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Farmers Banking on Renewables Fund From Barclays

By Katie Anderson on August 30, 2011

A surge in interest from UK farmers wishing to invest in solar panels has propelled Barclays bank to help farmers finance renewable energy projects.

According to Barclays, more than one-third of the 200,000 farmers in the UK are interested in installing some kind of renewable energy technology and the bank’s business arm has launched a £100 million fund to meet their needs.

Designed to assist farmers when it comes to financing the purchase of renewable energy technologies including solar panels and wind farms, when surveyed four out of five farmers said they recognise the cost-saving benefits of renewable energy, with some 60% regarding it as a source of additional income. The survey – which was published to correspond with the fund’s launch – saw 300 dairy farmers in England, Scotland and Wales take part.

Barclays business product and marketing director, Travers Clarke-Walker said: “We want to signal very clearly to the market that we consider this to be a big future industry, a big opportunity for agricultural businesses and also a big opportunity for the renewables.”

Despite the recent Government cuts to large scale solar projects, Mr. Clarke-Walker said they expect solar energy and wind farms to prove the most popular of the technologies, with around 80-90% of all projects falling in to these two categories, thanks to decreasing costs and improvements in the technology.

With costs averaging between £250,000 and £700,000, the fund has an unlimited budget, with the first £100m expected to support more than 100 renewable energy projects.

One farmer who has benefited from a loan from Barclays is Mike Porter. The suffolk-based farmer recently received £130,000 to install solar PV panels on a grain store. Mr Porter is hoping to make around £20,000 annually by exporting power to the national grid.