Estonia will have its first biodiversity-supporting solar park

Estonian Fund for Nature (ELF) and renewable energy producer Sunly have signed an agreement to build the company’s Nurme solar park as a pilot area for biodiversity, where environmentally friendly methods are used for both construction and maintenance. The solar park is being built by Sunly, and ELF, in cooperation with Tartu University researchers, advises on how to do it as environmentally friendly as possible. The agreement and the subsequent activities are intended to be a good example of private and third sector cooperation in promoting environmental protection and sustainability.

The creation of a biodiversity rich solar park is a significant step in the Estonian renewable energy landscape. In addition to environmental benefits, there are also economic benefits when it comes to conservation and nature-restoring practices. For example, lowering the maintenance burden, regulating the temperature between the panels and providing ecosystem services that support agriculture,” commented Ingrid Nielsen, ELF’s Renewable Energy Advocacy Expert. ELF and Sunly have joined forces to create a solar park that encourages and supports biodiversity recovery. “We hope that the project will become a successful example of how energy production and environmental friendliness can foster each other, providing opportunities to increase biodiversity in human-impacted landscapes,” added Nielsen.

We believe that the conscious development of renewable energy projects creates opportunities to preserve and also increase biodiversity in the solar park area. Therefore, in our planned Nurme solar park, we will as a pilot implement the biodiversity plan prepared by ELF, which has been created specifically for this project area. The construction of the Nurme solar park will start already this year,” commented Kristiina Esop, Sunly ESG Lead.

When choosing the location of the solar park, ecological possibilities and limitations are considered, and all valid environmental requirements and standards are followed in the process of building the park. As a part of the project, habitats are built for local animals and plants which creates favorable conditions for natural diversity.

In order to ensure permanent biodiversity suitable for the Estonian climate and especially for the Nurme park area, scientists of University of Tartu will conduct extensive monitoring during construction. The goal is to prepare optimal recommendations for the area and monitor the progress of biodiversity in the solar park for several years. In addition to the practical value of the research of Nurme areas, this information can be used in the future as the framework of similar projects.

Both ELF and Sunly are committed to creating a sustainable future, and the biodiversity pilot project is planned to show that renewable energy and nature conservation can go hand in hand. Building a bio-rich solar park in Estonia not only supports the transition to green energy, but also creates a positive example for other projects.