By Daniel Hunter

The vast majority of farmers (82 percent) who are looking to invest in renewable energy are motivated by concerns over rising energy costs, according to new research from Barclays, with one in three farmers (33 percent) looking to make a renewables investment in the next two years.

According to the research, over one quarter (27 percent) of farmers see rising costs as the single biggest threat to their business in the next five years, with one in ten (10 percent) also worried about price volatility.

Almost a third (31 percent) expect the move towards renewables to reduce their business costs or generate an income of between £5,000 to £20,000 a year.

“Most farmers see a move towards renewable energy as another form of diversification — and rightly so, as it can substantially cut energy costs and create new revenue," Martin Redfearn, Head of Agriculture at Barclays, said.

“Over half of farmers considering renewables are still undecided about when they will actually make the investment. Investment in this relatively new technology is a big step, but there is plenty of support out there for farmers who want to know more. Talking to your accountant or your bank relationship manager can be a key first step towards finding out whether it is right for your farm.”

Barclays has been a key supporter of moves by farmers to diversify into renewable energy, last year establishing a £100 million fund for lending to renewable energy farming projects.

For those who have invested in or are considering investing in renewables, the favored forms are solar (51%) and wind (43%). Biomass (15%), ground source (4%) and hydro (2%) remain less popular choices for investment.

Of those farmers who are not considering investing in renewable energy, the main reason given was that it would be too expensive (18%). Other reasons given include lack of time to consider (15%), a lack of understanding as to how it would help (13%) and Return on Investment (11%).

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