Ecological Planning for Solar Farms

Twig undertook an ecological reinstatement program, including tree and hedge planting, for a new solar farm client, Conergy. This was on a 9.47-hectare site in Guston, near Dover.

Native tree and hedge planting

Working closely alongside Conergy, the team were tasked with delivering an arrangement of tree and hedge planting objectives across the site, following a strict planting schedule.  A  diverse range of species of different heights was planted, from slot planting a 280-metre stretch of native mixed 40-60cm bare root whips to filling in existing hedgerows with the more substantial 1.8-3 metre trees and creating a small copse. All flora species are native from Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna and Blackthorn Prunus spinosa, to Hazel Corylus avellana and Beech Fagus sylvatica. These species, once established, will provide an excellent natural secure nesting habitat, as well as a great food source with nectar-rich flowers in spring and in fruiting berries and nuts in autumn.

Enriching natural habitats

Twig also installed many ecological enhancements, compromising of bird boxes, bat boxes, and insect towers. Specific locations for each of these were plotted out on the site by our ecologist for optimum benefit to nature. This in time will increase the biodiversity of species across the site and act as a small nature reserve within the arable farming landscape.

Benefiting wildlife

The ongoing restoration plan at Guston is to prepare and cultivate around the panels in readiness for the creation of a wildflower meadow. This can all be achieved using our specialist equipment which is small enough to work within the width restrictions of the boundaries and solar rows, yet sufficient enough to create a suitable tilth for grass and wildflower seed.

The site will be seeded with a specific mixture of Native wildflower seeds such as Birds foot trefoil Lotus corniculatus, Yellow rattle Rhinanthus minor and British wild grasses all of which have been selected to suit the particular clay soil conditions at Guston and that will provide wildlife benefits, be aesthetically pleasing whilst being easy to manage.