France’s renewable energy associations, Enerplan and SER, have cooperated with several regional governments in the country to publish a report on the impact of ground-mounted PV parks on biodiversity.
They conducted the research over a relatively short period of time – the first half of 2020. They aim to supplement it with a second research project in the 2021-22 period. They looked at 111 solar projects in Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Occitanie and other parts of France. They looked at three different ecosystems – Atlantic, Mediterranean, and mid-European.
They looked at the flora and three faunal components, including butterflies, reptiles, and birds. However, there was too little information to analyze evolutionary trends applicable to other insects such as amphibians, bats, and terrestrial mammals.
The observed a positive impact and noted that the effects of the projects were often linked to the appearance of new species, both local and invasive. For the fauna, the findings depended on the species observed. The researchers observed positive trends for butterflies, for example. For the flora, the impact mainly depends on the original state of the environment, they said.
The impact on birds also varies greatly, depending on the species, they found. The transformation of a site with heavy vegetation to a more open environment due to the clearing of trees seems to favor the arrival of new anthropophilic species, the researchers said.