The plant is owned and operated by solarhybrid AG and they have partnered with the University of Applied Sciences in Eberswalde on the project. Given the vast size of the plant and the lengthy duration of the monitoring project, researcher Hans-Peter Piorr believes, "a host of new insights" will result.
The research will focus on how large-scale photovoltaic plants impact on the environment and what can be done to mitigate this.
The FinowTower site is a former military airport and researchers will study the flora and fauna present there. If any relocation of endangered species is required this will be carried out. The site is the size of 250 football fields and wildlife at the site has already been studied by Jens Möller Vögel in the initial construction phases.
A major aim of the research is to avoid potential conflict situations between photovoltaic integrators and conservationists before they arise.
There frequently have been conflicts between photovoltaic project developers and environmentalists in Germany. Some projects in desert areas of the U.S. have also come under fire over flora and fauna impacts. One example has been in the Mojave Desert, where endangered tortoises were thought to be impacted by a BrightSource Energy development.
The October edition of pv magazine contains a feature article on the development of photovoltaic power plants in nature reserves.