Ecological monitoring of solar farms plays an important role in assessing change, identifying management issues, and ensuring planning obligations are met. It also provides us with valuable data to explore the impacts that solar farm developments are having on our environment; this will become increasingly important as more and larger solar arrays are constructed to meet our energy requirements and climate change commitments.
The approach to ecological monitoring varies greatly and this makes it difficult to pool data in order to look at the national picture. Therefore, a collaboration was formed between Solar Energy UK, Clarkson & Woods, Wychwood Biodiversity and Lancaster University to devise a standardised approach. This will ensure that asset owners are obtaining the same standard of information and also allows for amalgamation of information, where asset owners are willing to do this. Solar Energy UK will be using this information annually to publish a UK wide report with detailed analyses of ecological trends on solar farms across the UK. It will provide the industry with important information on the biodiversity impacts of solar farms, as well as a knowledge base to inform management practice.