Anyone who has visited Minsmere over last week will have noticed a new addition to landscape: solar panels.

We're demonstrating the RSPB's commitment to reducing global carbon dioxide emissions, and are installing a series of solar panels across several RSPB reserves: Minsmere, Arne, Leighton Moss, Bempton Cliffs, Old Moor, Saltholme and our HQ at The Lodge.

On most of these reserves the solar PV panels will be installed either on the roof of the visitor centre or as car ports in the car park. At Minsmere, however, we have a low south-facing bank along the northern edge of the car park, which is perfect for installing a large ground array instead - hence the chosen location.

Not only is this location perfect for the panels, but their installation will provide additional habitat for one of our more unusual insects. Antlions excavate their burrows in loose sand in south facing areas under overhanging shelter. They were first found nesting in the UK along the southern edge of the Minsmere visitor centre in 1996, and are still confined in the UK to the areas around Minsmere and Holkham in North Norfolk. These panels provide a large area of new habitat close to existing colonies, and should help to increase the population of this local specialty still further.

This exciting project will contribute towards making our reserves more energy efficient and reduce our environmental impact. The RSPB is striving to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions from our reserve buildings by 50%, and these panels will make a significant contribution towards this target. In fact, at Minsmere we anticipate these solar PV panels producing as much as 90% of the electricity required for the visitor centre.

As well as reducing our dependence on traditional, non renewable electricity resources, we'll be able to take advantage of the government's last remaining Feed-in-Tariff scheme, which will support the investment and help us deliver more for nature.

Even on a dull wet winter day these panels will produce some electricity, but they'll really come into their own on the long sunny days of summer (we hope).

As well as these new solar panels, the RSPB is already generating electricity from the wind with a large wind turbine at our HQ in Sandy, Bedfordshire, so we're doing our bit to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, limit climate change and demonstrate that renewable energy is both efficient and effective. 

Please help us to ensure that our efforts to protect Minsmere's wildlife are not in vain. ACT NOW to help protect Minsmere

Between 4 January and 29 March 2019, EDF Energy is consulting on their plans for Sizewell C nuclear power plant to be built next to the southern edge on Minsmere nature reserve. This development has the potential to cause significant harm to Minsmere's precious habitats and wildlife if EDF fails to ensure their plans keep Minsmere safe. The RSPB is asking people who know and love Minsmere to tell EDF it must be protected from harm. To add your voice to our call for EDF to protect this special place with our quick and simple e-action, visit loveminsmere.org 

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