Mark has since identified further expansion and diversification opportunities on and off the farm and has asked Carter Jonas to help secure further funding. This second project will generate sufficient revenue to cover the costs of future ideas without the need for more borrowing.
Mark’s scheme for floating solar, the first in the UK and which has now led to him setting up a company to offer it to others, brings benefits other than freeing up land.
The system has to be larger than the surface area of the base of the irrigation lagoon so that it could sit safely on the bottom should the water dry up but one of the advantages is that it helps prevent evaporation through shielding the surface area of the lagoon.
The cooling effect of the water on the panels and cables also leads to higher rates of generation, decreases erosion of the reservoir through reduced wave movement, slows algal growth through shielding the water, and lowers the environmental impact because there was no excavation work, no impact on the water quality, and uses recyclable materials. The recent announcement that ground mounted solar pv arrays will no longer be eligible for SFP / BFP from January 2015 will not apply to floating panels and means that the farm will not lose this valuable additional income stream.
The relationship between Carter Jonas and AMC could also be advantageous in helping secure loans to enable your own business development plans.