Pollinators and Solar Energy on a green roof – a win-win

Pollinators and energy on green roofs are a potential win-win. A simple sedum solar green roof is not the answer. The reall win-win is a biosolar roof.

The roof in question was installed because of a planning condition ten years ago. The simple sedum roof was not performing very well. The City planners did not want the green roof removed and replaced by solar panels. the solution: modify the green roof whilst installing panels with the green roof area.

pollinators renewable energy on a green roof
Thrifts thriving on a solar green roof London

Pollinators, Wildflowers and Solar energy –  a win-win

The sedum roof was in a relatively poor condition. Sedums mainly flower during June and September, which gives a limited nectar source for pollinators. To increase the available forage habitat, the improved green roof, now includes a wide range of native wildflowers. A good range of species needs to be specified to ensure that there is a nectar source throughout the summer. Early flowering plants support several species of solitary bees that are active March to May. Late flowering plants support pollinators that are active in late summer and early autumn.

Solar panels on green roofs

green roofs solar panels and pollinators
Biosolar roof for pollinators – City of London


A sustainable approach to buildings can often lead to an either or situation: a green roof or a solar roof. This is a rather reduction approach. There is actually no problem in combining green roofs with solar panels. This approach is relatively common in countries like Germany, Austria and Switzerland. GIC’s experience with working with continental partners, allows us to bring our knowledge and experience to ensure that such roofs are designed well and function well across the sustainable agenda.

Good Design Leads to Benefits for Pollinators and Renewable Energy

Sedum solar green roofs are one way to create a win-win on a roof. However the target should be to create a biosolar roof. One that delivers increased biodiversity provision whilst also providing renewable energy. The Green Infrastructure Consultancy has designed many such systems, including one of the largest in London, on the site of the London Olympics. The key is good design, experience and sound knowledge of solar green roof systems.


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Cambridge green roof policy workshop and seminar May 2018

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