Solar Energy (Photovolatics)
Given the rapid expansion of PV solar energy development and its predicted continued expansion, it is important to summarize the impacts to birds so that the potential impacts of future development can be evaluated [5,8]. Given the sparse data in the peer-reviewed literature, generalizations of direct impacts of PV solar to birds are limited. However, one unexpected pattern has emerged at PV solar facilities in the southwestern U.S. where water-dependent birds such as loons, grebes, and diving ducks have been detected as injuries or fatalities. As these species are depend on water for landing and take-off and are non- ambulatory, the presence of these species at PV solar facilities has led to the development of the lake effect hypothesis, which posits that water-dependent birds misinterpret the PV panels as water]. Given the sparse data, it is unknown if the pattern of water-dependent species at PV solar facilities is localized or widespread. A potential source of information to enhance the understanding of bird fatality patterns at PV solar facilities is the gray literature. Numerous fatality monitoring reports have been prepared as a result of permit conditions or voluntarily, and these reports contain important information that should be synthesized. Based on the limited information on direct impacts to birds from PV solar facilities, our objective involved searching the gray literature to identify fatality studies that could be synthesized to provide inference into broad scale patterns. Specifically, we were interested in species composition and fatality estimate and how patterns varied spatially and temporally within and among facilities. The data to date suggests some bird carcasses at solar projects, and some water-dependent birds in a few cases, but in general the rates do not appear high.