TechSolar farms: The unexpected wildlife havens boosting biodiversity

Solar farms: The unexpected wildlife havens boosting biodiversity

Photovoltaics on the ground. Photovoltaic installation with energy storage
Photovoltaics on the ground. Photovoltaic installation with energy storage
Images source: © Unsplash

4:12 PM EDT, May 24, 2024

Photovoltaics, known for generating cheap and eco-friendly energy, also hide a less obvious but equally valuable benefit. Beyond creating "green" electricity, solar farms play a significant role in supporting biodiversity.

Renewable energy has many well-known advantages, primarily low energy production costs, and minimal greenhouse gas emissions. However, the benefits of photovoltaics go beyond these aspects. According to the website, using data from RWE, photovoltaic farms create favorable conditions for developing various plant and animal species.

Solar farms support biodiversity

Different insects find shelter in areas occupied by photovoltaic installations. Thanks to stable environmental conditions, these insects can winter there. By colonizing neighboring fields and meadows, these insects support farmers by reducing pest populations. This mainly happens because intensive farming practices are not conducted on photovoltaic farms, creating better living conditions for many species.

Plants and birds also benefit from the presence of photovoltaic farms. The vegetation in these areas resembles that found in natural meadows, with some exceptions. Birds see a safe space for nesting.

Photovoltaics and biodiversity - research

Scientists from Adam Mickiewicz University Poznań, in cooperation with the German energy company RWE, are conducting research on biodiversity in photovoltaic farm areas. For 12 months, they studied ten farms where pro-ecological measures, such as introducing dead wood, biomass, and sand to create favorable conditions for insects, were implemented. Additionally, plants were planted along the fences. The study also included 12 standard farms and control areas.

Preliminary research results suggest that proper management of photovoltaic farms can promote biodiversity. Well-planned activities on large areas of solar farms can create favorable living conditions for many species of animals and plants, confirming that photovoltaics positively impact energy production and the natural environment.

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