The latest research from Barclays finds that more than a third of the UK’s 200,000 farmers are expecting to invest in renewable energy, with the aim of generating returns averaging £25,000 per year. The survey of 300 dairy farmers in England, Scotland and Wales throughout August 2011 was published to correspond with the launch of a £100 million fund, which will help to make these plans a reality.

Developed with sector specialists including the National Farmers Union (NFU), the Country, Land & Business Association and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the loan fund will be available for solar, wind, and hydro projects throughout the UK.

“For farmers investing makes sense – it's good for the environment, but for the majority it's about good business,” said Travers Clarke-Walker, Product and Marketing Director for Barclays Business.

“Over the years farmers have struggled with low commodity prices and increasing costs, and Barclays has already supported many farmers as they seek new ways of making money. Renewable energy production offers farmers a further opportunity to develop their businesses and add to their traditionally vital roles of producing food and managing the countryside.

“What farmers see is a win-win – lower costs and increased income, and the majority expect the investment to pay for itself in less than 10 years. Meaning they are looking forward to many further years of lower energy costs and a potentially new income as they sell energy back to the grid.”

In contrast to the Gemserv survey results published this morning; Barclays found that four out of five of the farmers questioned recognise that renewable energy can provide significant cost savings, with 60% expecting it to generate additional income for their business.

Meurig Raymond, NFU deputy president said, “The opportunities for farmers to produce renewable energy thereby helping to decarbonise the economy and contribute to the UK’s long-term energy security are there for all to see.”

“Given the significant up-front costs of renewables technologies, commercial lending is essential to unlocking these opportunities, so it’s great to see Barclays committing to make additional funding to the sector.”

Barclays will assess projected feed-in-tariff payments when assessing each loan.