Solar rooftop is the most attractive investment option in property survey

A 50kW solar panel rooftop installation is the most “attractive” investment, according to a new report by property consultants Carter Jonas.

The 50kw solar installation option was ranked first on Carter Jonas’ 2015 Energy Index, because it is considered relatively low risk and scores well in most categories.

A 5MW Solar PV Park or 10MW Wind Farm have historically been some of the most attractive technologies for investors, according to the report, but were ranked eighth and ninth, respectively, due to recent changes in Government policy.

Biomass was ranked second, despite recent cuts to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). 

A 500kW Wind Turbine was ranked third as it still delivers the highest return on investment for the right site. 

However, wind has a lower planning approval rate and also low development costs’ score, reflecting the high development costs and risks associated with securing planning for sites.

A 1MW Waste Anaerobic Digestion (AD) and a 500 kW Farm AD were ranked fourth and sixth respectively as operation and maintenance are higher than other renewable energy technologies, and there is volatility of financial support mechanisms, particularly the reductions in the biomethane injection tariff (RHI).

“When considering renewable energy investment opportunities, it is prudent to consider the risks against the potential benefits,” said Head of Energy and Marine at Carter Jonas, Andrew Watkin.

“To help our clients understand their options when it comes to onshore renewable energy, we grouped the various factors together to show the relative risk versus benefit. 

“500kW Wind has the highest benefit but also has very high risk, while a 50kW Solar Scheme also has good benefit with significantly less risk. Due to recent changes to incentives, large solar and wind farms now offer investors a much lower benefit. Our research has identified the most attractive renewable technology opportunities available, at the present time, according to key investment factors. However each opportunity will be driven by site specific circumstances and we would always recommend careful assessment and due diligence of individual projects prior to any investment.”

“The recent proposals by the DECC have presented a significant blow to the renewable industry in the UK, particularly at a time where projections were that solar would be subsidy free by 2020, based on previous projected investment,” added Mr Watkin. 

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government, transport and energy issues