Planting wildflowers around solar panels could make them a home for bees


Solar farms could become havens for bees and other pollinators if simple changes were made, new research suggests.

Fields of glinting panels may not look like the most inviting place for wildlife to flourish. But if solar park land is managed as meadows – as opposed to turf grass – it can support four times as many bumblebees.

Researchers at Lancaster University, UK, investigated different scenarios to see if ground-nesting bumblebee populations could be better supported. The pollinators are in drastic decline across Europe – their numbers have fallen by 17 per cent since the early twentieth century.

PhD researcher Hollie Blaydes says, “Our findings provide the first quantitative evidence that solar parks could be used as a conservation tool to support and boost pollinator populations. If they are managed in a way that provides resources [such as wildflowers], solar parks could become valuable bumble bee habitat.”