Solar farms in the UK have the potential to become wildlife havens, according to a report by Solar Energy UK and Lancaster University.
The study found that solar farms managed with conservation in mind can support declining bird species, such as linnets, yellowhammers and skylarks.
A recent survey of 37 solar farms in the UK revealed the presence of linnets, a bird species of conservation concern.
These small finches, known for their melodious song, were found on more than half of the surveyed sites.
The decline in linnet populations since the 1960s is believed to be associated with intensified agricultural practices.
The presence of ground-mounted photovoltaic panels also benefits neighbouring agriculture by increasing the number of available pollinators, according to the study.
The report highlights the importance of adopting a standardized approach to ecological monitoring on solar farms and encourages further investment in biodiversity protection.
Rachel Hayes, Consents and ESG Policy Manager at Solar Energy UK has emphasised that the report’s findings confirm the long-standing belief that well-designed and well-managed solar farms play a crucial role in addressing the climate emergency and biodiversity loss in the UK.
Hayes said: “Wildlife can benefit hugely from developing solar farms, providing a variety of habitats and raising the numbers of some of our most threatened species while pushing us forward towards net zero.”