While solar parks are an integral part of our green energy transition, they are sometimes the subject of controversy over claims that they are an eyesore, spoil productive land, and harm nature. However, a new study has found that, if managed properly, solar parks can actually help provide habitats for wildlife — particularly bumblebees — to flourish, reports The Guardian.
According to the study from Lancaster University, by encouraging solar park owners to sow wildflowers alongside their solar panel arrays, the parks could become valuable habitats for pollinators. In fact, managing them in such a way would boost bumblebee numbers beyond the borders of the park, to about 1km (0.6 miles) away, benefiting farmers who rely on pollinators to help produce food.
As part of the study, the researchers conducted a simulation that found a solar park managed as a wildflower meadow had four times as many bees as one sitting atop a turfgrass. “Our research suggests that the management of vegetation within the solar parks is really important,” said study author Hollie Blaydes. “Solar parks managed as a meadow act as bumblebee habitat that is rich in flowering plants. Management to create floral-rich bumblebee habitat could be one of the simplest ways to support bumblebees on solar parks.”