Farmers and land owners could earn rents in the region of up to £12,000 a year for hosting a single wind turbine, according to James Humphreys, Director of the Rural Division, at Stratton & Holborow.

Between £2,000 and £3,000 per hectare could also be achieved by those prepared to make their land available for one of the UK’s first Solar Parks, with the possibility of a royalty payment on top. Mr Humphreys, who was instrumental in establishing the UK’s second wind farm, at Carland Cross, near Truro, believes recently enacted legislation represents “an unprecedented opportunity” for farmers to diversify, either by renting their land to others or by investing in their own turbine. “The introduction of Feed In Tariffs (FITs) from April 1, 2010 has made renewable energy much more viable for the private householder and land owner,” he said.

In line with Government policy to ensure that, by 2020, 15per cent of UK energy production is derived from renewable sources, FITs have been introduced by the Government to pay ordinary energy users for renewable energy they generate. A single turbine site (500 KW) could generate rental income in the region of £12,000 per annum.

For landowners who want to ‘go it alone’, Mr Humphreys estimates a potential income in the region of £15,000 a year. With the cost of erecting a 20 KW wind turbine and connecting it to the grid put at around £75,000, they could expect to see their money back within five years.

Mr Humphreys says that the search is also under way for a site to accommodate the UK’s first solar park. Cornwall Council have already announced plans for a Solar Park near Newquay Airport but individual land owners can also benefit from this proposal.

“I am in discussion with a number of developers who are looking for areas of around 15 hectares for a 5 MW capacity Solar Park, and are prepared to offer rents in the region of £2,000 per hectare to £3,000 per hectare”.

He is also negotiating with the developers to pay a royalty on top of the rent which should benefit the land owners who have good sites for this development.