Our responsible solar approach

For almost a decade, Lightsource bp has been constructing solar farms with a Responsible Solar approach – taking steps to not only minimize the effect to the land but also to improve soil health, boost biodiversity, and provide pollinator friendly environments wherever possible. With many of our solar farms, we’re found that they provide the perfect untouched haven for species-rich grass, wildflowers, and other wildlife including endangered species – some sites are so suitable for bees that local beekeepers produce honey for both themselves and Lightsource bp!

Lightsource bp is now advancing our responsible approach to solar farm development in the US and around the world. Our goal is to instill a new, holistic approach to solar farming that takes full advantage of the potential to create healthier and more resilient ecosystems and rural economies.

Boosting biodiversity & pollinator friendly solar

Studies have shown that with proper planning and land management, solar farms can increase biodiversity, helping local ecosystems. Pollinator-friendly solar can increase nearby crop yields, in addition to providing more groundwater recharge and a greater reduction in soil erosion than either conventional solar or farming.

There is large potential for pollinator-friendly solar to deliver ecosystem and agricultural benefits – yielding benefits for a range of stakeholders, from solar developers to farmers to surrounding communities.

Read some of our real life stories and other information to learn more about biodiversity and pollinator friendly solar:

Site specific environmental management plans

Our project development involves site specific environmental assessments that include cultural surveys, threatened and endangered species assessments, wetlands delineations, as well as consultation with wildlife regulatory agencies. We create long-term environmental management plans for each project in order to maximize the local sustainability benefits of our solar farms.

Combining solar & agriculture

Since solar panels are mounted on posts, they don’t physically occupy the majority of the land, which allows for other uses such as sheep grazing. Solar grazing keeps farmland in farm production. Farm incomes are down, and solar grazing allows farmers to increase and diversify revenues without taking land out of food production. Solar grazing contributes dairy, meat, and wool to the locally sourced, renewable farm market. It also reduces or eliminates the need for mowing at solar sites, reducing emissions and costs.

Properly managed grazing can also improve soil health and increase the cycling of nutrients, carbon, water and energy. As the livestock graze, they trample manure, urine, and old plant matter into the earth. The plant matter decomposes, and together with the manure and urine, it fertilizes and rejuvenates the soil.

Read some of our real life stories and other information to learn more about solar grazing:

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions

The solar energy produced by our solar farms lowers greenhouse gas emissions, improving the health of people and the environment they live in. Here are some examples:

  • At our Penn State, Powered by the Sun, project greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by 57,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, the equivalent of removing 12,100 fuel burning cars off the road each year.
  • Our Impact Solar project in Texas provides an offset of more than 318,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year, comparable to taking over 68,700 fuel-burning cars off the road.

Recycling & lifecycle management

At Lightsource bp, we’re committed to managing our solar farms throughout their entire life cycle, which is expected to be 40 years or more, including the end-of-life management of solar equipment. Lightsource bp is a member of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), an organization whose members are dedicated to responsible end-of-life management and are proactively developing collection and recycling processes for the solar industry as a whole.

Read some of our real life stories and other information to learn more about recycling and lifecycle management of solar farms:

Empowering our communities

At Lightsource bp we do our best to create solar farms that local people can be proud of.

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