Lavenham-based Farm Renewables secures development funding

Nigel Goodhew, managing director, left, and Malcolm McAllister, chairman, of Farm Renewables.

Nigel Goodhew, managing director, left, and Malcolm McAllister, chairman, of Farm Renewables. - Credit: Archant

A renewable energy company based in Suffolk has secured funding for the first phase of development for a series of projects spanning an area from Yorkshire to Sussex.

Farm Renewables from Lavenham, which specialises in solar photovoltaic and anaerobic digestion installations, has raised the money from private investors through corporate finance company Watersheds.

It will be used to fund the initial development of a total of eight projects, involve five sites in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Sussex and Kent.

This will include obtaining planning permission and securing connections to the National Grid, to get the sites “shovel ready”. Watersheds then aims to secure a second round of funding to allow construction work to go ahead.

The developments involve a mix of state-of-the-art photovoltaic solar panels, which generate from five to ten megawatts, and anaerobic digestion plants, which use a natural process of decomposition to turn farm-grown energy crops, food processing waste and other organic material into biogas.

Watersheds partner David Fletcher said: “Attracting investment and talented individuals was quite a challenge because, whereas millions are raised during the construction of such sites, it is this early stage money that is the most difficult to raise. Pre planning permission funding can be extremely difficult to obtain, so it was crucial to the success of this project.”

Malcolm McAllister, chairman of Farm Renewables, said: “Our goal is to develop, operate and invest in a variety of clean technologies, often in partnership with farmers and landowners, to make a significant contribution towards the UK’s renewable energy and carbon reduction targets.

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“As a leading provider of independent development and advice on renewable energy, this project is enabling us to take centre stage.“

Nigel Goodhew, Farm Renewables’ managing director, added: ”We required finance for the development stage to allow us to gain planning consent at numerous sites before the construction stage.

“We wanted the investment but we also wanted to ensure that we were able to gain maximum rewards from the capital gains on any exit. We turned to David and the team at Watersheds who looked after us and delivered a crucial result.”