Animals

Ten Ways to Ensure Bees Benefit From the Solar Power Boom

Researchers assessing the impact of solar energy development across Europe have come up with ten ways in which the expansion of solar can be shaped to ensure pollinators benefit.

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Space-hungry solar photovoltaic (PV) is set to dominate future global electricity supply, but with careful decision making, efforts to secure clean energy need not come at the expense of biodiversity – particularly pollinators which are in sharp decline.

Bees, hoverflies, wasps, beetles, butterflies and moths play a key role in food production, with around 75% of the leading global food crops and 35% of global crop production relying on them to some extent.

Writing in the journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, a Lancaster-led team of environmental scientists systematically reviewed the available evidence on how land management practices relating to solar parks in North West Europe could enhance pollinator biodiversity.

Along with colleagues from the University of Reading, they highlighted ten evidence-based ways to protect and even enhance pollinator biodiversity ranging from sowing wildflowers to connecting solar parks to nearby areas of semi-natural habitat.

Their findings are timely as, in a bid to tackle climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, more power is being generated from renewable sources - at the beginning of 2020 a record breaking 47% of the UK’s electricity came from renewables, including wind, solar, hydro, wave and biomass.

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