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SPIES Project

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Download resources


The SPIES project has developed a decision support tool for regulatory and industry use that promotes ground-mounted solar parks that are deployed and managed for maximum ecosystem benefits.
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What is the opportunity?

Land use change for solar parks offers an excellent opportunity to enhance our natural environment. Within the UK a large proportion of solar photovoltaics are ground-mounted as solar parks. Yet, despite the expanding land area occupied by solar parks little is known of the impacts, both beneficial and detrimental, of their construction, physical presence and management on the landscape. The SPIES decision support tool uses existing scientific understanding to fill this important knowledge gap. For other energy-environment research and innovation, please visit www.energyenvironment.co.uk.

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What is the SPIES decision support tool?

The SPIES tool is a decision support tool that enables the management of solar parks for environmental co-benefits. It has been co-developed with a cross-sectoral stakeholder group and is underpinned by over 700 pieces of evidence from over 450 peer-reviewed journal articles, ensuring both applicability and a robust evidence-base. It is a web-based application than enables users to select solar park management actions and ascertain the impact on ecosystem services and natural capital or select ecosystem services and identify which management actions impact them. The SPIES tool provides a robust evidence base to inform the potential ‘net environmental gain’, as stipulated in the Defra 25 year Environment Plan and reflected in the 2018 National Planning Policy Framework, of solar parks.

View our downloads


Here are some SPIES project downloads. The SPIES animation is available click HERE. The SPIES screen capture explainer video is available click HERE. Also, for further information on ecosystem services click HERE.
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SPIES presentation

Here is a narrated SPIES tool presentation


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SPIES tool

Here are the log-in details for the SPIES web-based app


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SPIES briefing paper

Here is the 'Managing Solar Parks for Nature' briefing paper.


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SPIES journal article

Here is the peer-reviewed article that details the tool.


See our partners


SPIES is a collaborative project between academics at Lancaster University and the University of York and various stakeholder partners. It has been resourced through two NERC Innovation grants (NE/N016955/1 & NE/R009449/1) and project partner support. Below are the logos of the partners involved formally in grant applications, but many more organisations contributed. SimOmics developed the web-based application version of the SPIES tool.
Meet our team


Get in touch with us


If you have any queries about SPIES please contact:


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