Brooks Leney have been involved in a number of cases of the District Valuer pursuing business rates on solar panels mounted on agricultural buildings.
Initially it was a grey area as to whether these panels were rateable or not, but on further inspection of the legislation, we believe that due to the fact that the panels are not an integral part of the agricultural building (they sit on top of the roof rather than being part of the roof), they do not benefit from the rates exemption that normal agricultural buildings receive. Despite the fact that the rateable value of most of these installations is such that they should be eligible for rates relief, farmers and land owners are finding themselves having to go through the rating process, providing extensive information to the District Valuer, so that a rateable value can be agreed.
Farmers and land owners should ensure they provide the appropriate information to the District Valuer to allow a proper assessment and more importantly, once the rateable value has been assessed, ensure they make the claim for the relevant reliefs from Business Rates.
For advice on this, or any other Business Rates matter, please contact one of the Brooks Leney team.