IRELAND

Can solar benefit ecosystems?

Is there a real opportunity for solar and ecosystems?

As a renewable energy company, building and operating solar projects is one way in which we’re fighting climate change and its effects.

However, we don’t just see ourselves as solar developers. We’re not just making solar energy, we’re also responsible for the land under our panels, and as ground mounted solar is typically in place for over 20 years, we see this as an opportunity to go the extra mile and try to improve the local ecosystems where our projects are sited.

At Lightsource bp, careful consideration is given to the way in which our solar projects are constructed. Environmental impact assessments play a key part in ensuring our projects integrate harmoniously into their surroundings and make a difference.

Can solar farms really make a difference?

The short answer is – yes! The longer answer is that there have been a number of studies undertaken across the world, comparing solar land with similar quality undeveloped land nearby, monitoring the number of species present on each site. These studies have all shown that higher numbers of creatures are present on solar land, indicating that solar farms do in fact have a positive impact on local biodiversity.

Boosting biodiversity, saving bees

At Lightsource bp, one of our core values is sustainability – as a renewable energy company, we want to ensure that our installations have a positive effect on the local environment. A large part of that for us is generating solar electricity and reducing carbon emissions, but we’re also dedicated to improving sustainability globally in other ways.

We want to be part of the solution, and as solar land is protected from development for 30+ years, we’re in a strong position to boost biodiversity and protect pollinators. Wherever possible, we plant our sites with species-rich seed mixes to create habitats for pollinators as well as local flora and fauna.

For all our global sites, we work with local environmental and ecological experts to undertake detailed field surveys in order to identify ways in which we benefit the ecosystem.

We’ve pioneered this approach in our UK sites, and are now rolling out our bee programme across the globe, replicating our success across our international projects in Europe, the USA, Brazil and Australia, where appropriate.. Since starting the programme in 2015, we have…

  • Worked with local bee farmers to identify sites where we can add beehives
  • Invested more than $25,000 into the project which supports local businesses
  • Harvested 2200 jars of honey which we use distribute for global events
  • Housed an estimated 1 million bees in hives across five of our UK sites

Whilst we’re boosting biodiversity globally in other ways, the bee project has proven to be a very successful way to do this as it also supports local businesses while helping to save the endangered pollinators.

“Working with Lightsource bp has provided me access to land which allows bees to thrive. Having my hives on Lightsource bp’s solar farms has also given me the peace of mind that the hives will not be tampered with as it has tight security on its land. Above all else, I’ve enjoyed working with Lightsource bp as not only is it improving the environment through providing clean electricity, but it is going above and beyond its bread and butter in an effort to boost biodiversity.” Lightsource bp Bee Farmer

 

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