Following the approval of a 6,000 solar panel farm on a site in Cornwall, landowners are coming round to the idea that the next big thing in renewable energy is going to be large-scale photovoltaic (PV) panel installations.

Energy and environmental company Atmos Consultants predicts solar farms will average 15 hectares, or 25,000 panels.

Owners of agricultural and redundant industrial land can benefit from guaranteed income over the next 25 years under the government’s Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme.

However, managing director Stewart Lowther believes that, because the FIT will be made available to those connected to the national grid before the tariffs are reviewed in 2013, there is likely to be a surge of applications over the next 18 months, for which he says local authorities are unprepared.