Biological and environmental aspects of placing large-scale solar energy plants on farmland

The placement of larger solar thermal plants (solar district heating or photovoltaics) in the rural areas has been very popular in recent years and are expected to only gaining in popularity. Solar thermal plants are typically placed in short distance to a heat sink, i.e. cities, towns and townships, where they cover parts of the heat load. For photovoltaics the distance to urban areas is not as critical, as electricity can be fed into the electricity grid. Both technologies share that they are typically placed on what used to be farmland.

As the land use aspect is addressed in many projects, PlanEnergi created a booklet in which aspects regarding the environmental consequences of placing large-scale solar energy plants on farmland are described. Large-scale solar energy plants are typically placed on farmland, i.e. land with little biodiversity due to a focus on high yields of single crops. When the land is transformed to permanent grass, the large-scale solar energy plants indirectly result in an increase in biodiversity, carbon capture in the root systems and the creation of habitats for i.a. pollinating insects.

You can download the booklet (only available in Danish)