The RICS says surveyors in rural areas across the North West are seeing a substantial increase in demand for due diligence reports from banks seeking advice on viability of using sites to develop wind or solar power schemes.
Among the most common type of instruction is a bank seeking assurances on the performance of wind turbines, construction and planning issues, and if the site is windy enough to generate sufficiently high energy levels. The UK government has taken a number of steps, including the Feed in Tariff to encourage growth in the renewable energy market as it comes under increasing pressure to meet UK and international carbon reduction targets.
Surveyors across the North West are also seeing a rise in the demand for freehold and leasehold valuations for sites where the value may rise as a result of its potential to generate renewable energy as the market continues to grow.
RICS has recognised this demand and provided some guidance in a recently published information paper that can assist surveyors in the valuation of the freeholds and leaseholds, which should help to deliver consistency and reliability to landowners, investors and the lending community.
The valuation approaches discussed in the paper should provide additional reassurance to financial backers who are more likely to lend on the premise that valuations are transparent and reliable – stimulating further growth in the market.
Graham Bowcock, partner at Northwich-based Berrys and a spokesman on rural issues for RICS, said: "Landowners and developers in rural communities can create a good income by selling the energy from renewable energy installations, like wind turbines to the national grid – powering homes with electricity across the country. So it is no surprise that interest in the financial benefits of generating such renewable energy is growing."
James Kavanagh, RICS director of land, added: "As this market continues to become more sophisticated, surveyors are increasingly being asked to perform more complex assessments, needed by all parties, but especially the lending community who need that extra assurance before handing over finance."