UNITED STATES

Our commitment to biodiversity and habitat conservation

The World Wildlife Fund reports that North America has seen a 33% drop in overall biodiversity since 1970, with even greater losses globally. Our environment, our lives and our livelihoods are at risk.

Climate change and biodiversity loss are two of the most critical, intertwined issues our planet is facing. As part of our Responsible Solar ethos, our goal is to demonstrate a biodiversity increase (net biodiversity gain) at our solar farms within 5 years post construction. 

Image showing how the posts on a solar farm take up less than 10% of the land, leaving the rest open for plants and animals, which helps increase biodiversity

Creating and preserving habitat under and around the solar panels

Solar farms inherently lend themselves to habitat enhancement and conservation initiatives– studies have shown solar farms can majorly increasing biodiversity on previously disturbed land in just a few years with the use of pollinator-friendly seed mixes. Lightsource bp’s goal is to increase biodiversity at our solar projects, creating habitat for a variety and abundance of species under and around the solar panels. We create a detailed vegetation plan in partnership with local and regional seed suppliers, conservationists, certified crop advisors and agronomists. A typical mix of plant species at an established Lightsource bp solar farm will include numerous species of grasses and flowers.

We carefully curate customized seed mixes and other vegetation so that our solar farms can serve as safe, supportive homes for beneficial insects, birds and other wildlife under our biodiversity framework. The durability and diversity of the plant species selected are weighed with other important factors, such as stormwater absorption and soil health. We look to support habitat creation, agricultural use, soil stabilization, carbon capture and resilience. We actively monitor and measure net biodiversity gain based on scoring systems developed by international conservation groups. 

07 Oct, 2021

Restoring prairie and sinking carbon in Colorado

Sinking carbon on solar farms: A new kind of PV + Storage

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14 Feb, 2022

Preserving habitat and integrating agriculture at Impact Solar

Habitat enhancement & agrivoltaics in Texas

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31 Jul, 2023

Habitat creation and preservation at Prairie Ronde Solar 

Three ways we're boosting biodiversity

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Declining pollinator populations threaten our global food supply. Solar farms can help!

Pollinators such as butterflies, bees, birds and bats support plant reproduction and reinforce strong resilient ecosystems. Three-fourths of the world’s flowering plants and about 35 percent of the world’s food crops depend on pollinators to reproduce, according to the USDA. Some scientists estimate that one out of every three bites of food we eat exists because of animal pollinators.

Unfortunately, pollinator populations are declining. Scientists believe that loss of habitat for feeding and nesting is a primary cause. Every acre of pollinator habitat created and conserved makes a big difference in supporting these crucial species. According to a 5-year study from Argonne National Laboratory, solar farms with habitat restoration can significantly boost populations of pollinator insects on the land, with native bees showing a 20-fold increase on their test sites. They also found that the insects visited nearby crop fields, making neighboring farmland more productive!  The researches concluded that these findings “provide support for solar-pollinator habitat as a feasible conservation practice to safeguard biodiversity and increase food security in agricultural landscapes.”

To help mitigate this loss of pollinators, Lightsource bp is creating and managing vegetation to support pollinator populations at many of our solar farms. There is large potential for co-located pollinator habitat to deliver ecosystem and agricultural benefits on solar farms – yielding benefits for a range of stakeholders, from solar developers to farmers to surrounding communities.

Learn more about our Responsible Solar approach to environmental sustainability

Environment

Learn how we're maximizing the environmental sustainability of our solar projects

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Agrivoltaics

Learn how we're integrating agriculture onto solar farms.

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Research & monitoring

Learn how we're contributing to academic research and industry best practices.

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