As well as providing renewable electricity, solar farms can also generate a range of benefits for local ecosystems and wildlife.
That’s the conclusion reached in a new report from the Solar Trade Association (STA), which says well-designed and well-managed solar farms frequently deliver signifcant benefits for biodiversity and sustainable agriculture across the UK.
It says recent biodiversity audits conducted on solar parks owned by STA members found six times more pollinators than in adjacent fields and notes the renewable sites are often able to provide biodiversity and habitat provision, flood mitigation, carbon storage, soil erosion mitigation and increased pollination rates.
The report highlights a wide number of interventions that can be taken on solar farms and outlines a number of ways in which STA members have already taken action.
It says members have boosted rare species including moths, bats and partridges by cultivating tree-rich hedgerows, increased fruit crop pollination for orchards close to wildflower meadows, encouraged higher plant and animal diversity on sites by providing better drainage and helped support wetland bird species by introducing artificial wetland features.
Report Author Nicholas Gall said; “Wildlife and plant species face profound threats today which are compounded by climate change.
“The STA is determined to promote best practice in the development and management of solar parks so that our industry helps to turn around prospects for nature while slashing millions of tonnes of carbon emissions. This report shows that, when real care is taken, solar farms can deliver tremendous benefits for wildlife, pollinators and even sustainable food production.”