Thanks to environmental monitoring carried out in the winter period at the turn of 2021-2022, we know that 6 species of mammals were found in the Sulechów Photovoltaic Farms, including weasels, hares, partridges and foxes which are under partial protection. Ornithologists confirmed the presence of 30 species of birds. Among them, 4 species are under partial protection, 26 are strictly protected, including 2 species listed in Annex I of the Natura 2000 Birds Directive. The most numerous are, among others: buzzards, yellowhammer, corn buntings and kestrels.
Monitoring shows a clearly higher activity of birds of prey within the farm boundaries compared to the adjacent open agricultural land. This is probably due to the relatively high density of rodents and low vegetation, which increases the success of hunting. Within the boundaries of the photovoltaic farms, numerous burrows and corridors of rodents, mole feeding grounds as well as fox and mustelids tracks and faeces were recorded. That means the area of our photovoltaic installations is not an isolated space inaccessible to animals. On the contrary, it is reach in diverse species and has a potentially high impact on the region’s ecosystem.
Bees and pollinating insects are crucial for the functioning of ecosystems and food production. Intensive agriculture with the use of plant protection products and monoculture crops are obstacles to their development. Activities undertaken by Polenergia are aiming for increasing the insects’ species diversity by creating various development sites adapted to their needs.
At the beginning of 2020, Polenergia set up a photovoltaic apiary in Sulechów consisting of 10 hives. The apiary is under the constant care of a beekeeper who knows the local conditions of beekeeping management. However, we take care not only of the honey bee used in the beekeeping industry, but also of other pollinating insects. In order to provide space for the development of solitary bees, special houses made of wood, straw and clay have been placed in the area of photovoltaic farms. It will be a great place for the development of wild pollinating insects, which are so important for the environment. In addition, during the construction of the farm, we collected stones and built special mounds from them. Stones mixed with reeds and branches will be a great place for bumblebee development!
Bees and pollinating insects will have an abundance of nourishment thanks to the diversified form of land use and the abundance of flowers that bloom at different times. Importantly, pollinators are safe in our photovoltaic farms in Sulechów. No one will use chemical sprays or pesticides in this area.
Large-scale solar farms are a great place to help many species of animals, and above all, the pollinating insects that our lives depend on. This opportunity related to the reconstruction of meadow ecosystems and the promotion of biodiversity cannot be wasted. That is why we share our good practice and the effects of environmental observations on our solar farms. The enormous potential of new photovoltaic projects in Poland gives the opportunity to create similar enclaves of biodiversity throughout the country.