We support the development of solar power and other forms of renewable energy to help decarbonise the UK's electricity supply and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The development of solar power
Solar power is a particularly attractive technology because the lack of moving parts means that risks to wildlife are limited, particularly when deployed in urban areas on roofs and car parks, for example.
It can be used for space heating and hot water supply in buildings, or to generate electricity. On roofs and 'brown field' sites, solar panels are a wildlife-friendly way to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and we fully support their use, subject to good practice installation to avoid impacts to nesting birds.
Our 2050 Energy Vision demonstrates the significant role solar could play in a wildlife-friendly future energy system.
However, solar 'farms' are a potential concern in sensitive locations, as they could reduce the suitability of habitats for key species, though careful planning and project development could help to avoid such impacts.
Solar and biodiversity
There may also be good opportunities to manage solar sites to improve conditions for wildlife.
Evidence as to the potential benefits of well-managed solar sites is coming forward all the time but more research is needed to identify how management techniques would deliver in a solar farm context.
We are working in partnership with Anesco, one of the country’s leading solar energy companies, with a view to developing the evidence base by helping them integrate and manage wildlife features through habitat enhancement plans.
We want to see further collaboration between industry, academia, government and NGOs to enhance understanding of how solar farms could help nature flourish in our countryside whilst helping to decarbonise the UK’s energy supply.
Solar at the RSPB
We have already installed a number of solar panels onto our visitor facilities at reserves like Loch Leven, Rainham Marshes, and Newport Wetlands.
We continue to install solar to help reduce the carbon footprint of our estate.