Land Conservation, Powered by Solar
Better for the Planet in More Ways Than One
At Rewild, we’re focused on reducing our reliance on fossil fuels by developing clean, local solar energy for communities. But that effort isn’t the whole story. We also believe in preserving the land sited for solar projects by promoting the valuable ecosystem benefits the land provides.
Supporting Land Resilience and Connectivity
Plants and animals need to be able to move to suitable habitats, making connectivity of land critical to encourage this movement – as well as resilience to climate change. We donate proceeds to protect lands that need to be protected in order to facilitate wildlife movement in the face of climate change, and help encourage land connectivity across the U.S.
What Conservation-Minded Solar Looks Like
Rewild is a Solar 2.0 company, which means as the industry matures, we are leading the way in ensuring our company approaches the fight against climate change by reducing carbon emissions and protecting biodiversity. Our solar projects often actually improve the land on which they’re sited by utilizing pollinator species ground cover and sequestering carbon through the soil. It could also mean we avoid chain link fences and instead use wide-hole agricultural fencing so more critters can pass through and use the land under our panels. We avoid sensitive lands by screening each site to avoid critical landscapes or species identified by non-governmental organizations (NGOs), instead siting projects on lands that will realize a net benefit. These lands can include farmland, gravel pits, industrial sites, non-mature forested land, brownfields, landfills, and even large industrial rooftops.
The Critical Tie Between Land Conservation and Renewable Energy
Due to expanding human development, wildlife species in North America are increasingly prevented from naturally finding new, hospitable habitats. At the same time, our need for renewable energy is also increasing to reduce the impacts of climate change. Rewild is committed to making smart, informed decisions about where to build solar sites so the land areas in which species need to move and thrive are kept intact and protected – and are allowed to store massive amounts of carbon, helping offset climate change.
In 2021 Rewild donated $100,000 to The Nature Conservancy to go toward four tremendously valuable tracts of land that exhibit habitat connectivity, resilience, and biodiversity. In 2022 and 2023 Rewild will donate another $100,000 to The Nature Conservancy for additional, similar land conservation projects. Our team has chosen to support The Nature Conservancy for their tremendous science-based, systems-level, high-value land conservation strategy that will help ensure species can migrate for eternity as the climate changes.
What We Look For in a Solar Site
In addition to being adjacent to critical grid infrastructure, we seek lands where solar is a good use for the location and there are opportunities to rewild the land. When we site properties, we look for:
A Need for Rewilding.
Many lands are not productive from a biodiversity perspective. Take a degraded gravel pit, for example. Adding solar can bring in pollinator species, ground cover, habitat and shade for critters, and with time sequester carbon in the ground.
Opportunities for Biodiversity.
Neglected, toxic, or overgrown lands can be rejuvenated through solar energy projects that enable gradual transformation. They can be rewilded to support wildlife species and habitats, leading to conservation efforts that help combat climate change.
Avoiding Sensitive Impacts.
We design our projects to avoid impacting wetlands, protected or endangered species, and sensitive ecosystems. There are great non-governmental organizations (NGOs) out there with mapping systems that identify these areas. We proactively make sure these areas are avoided. Sometimes we are able to even permanently conserve adjacent land.
Lands Protected Through Our Philanthropy
The High Peaks Region and the Boundary Mountain Preserve are creating major pathways of ecological connection and resilience as the climate warms.
- In the High Peaks Region, more than 13,500 acres between two parcels known as Quill Hill and Perham Stream will be added to nearly 100,000 acres of connected, conserved lands.
- The Boundary Mountains Preserve, nearly 10,000 acres adjacent to more than 22,000 acres of public lands in Quebec, extends a corridor of permanently conserved lands northward to a total of more than 260,000 acres and is a key link in a major pathway of ecological connection from the White Mountains in New Hampshire through the western Maine Mountains and Quebec borderlands and beyond.
In West Virginia, we’re helping The Nature Conservancy protect 4,490 acres of unique “keystone” connector habitat in the Canaan Valley and Dolly Sods region, a last opportunity to connect the southern Appalachia and northern Appalachia regions.
- Acre for acre, this property is among the most important unprotected areas in all of the Appalachians. The protected land will contribute to climate resilience, conserving wetlands and headwater rivers, and will help expand connections to
- This project is in a coal-producing area, and an area of imminent threat of subdivision and second home development. Conservation of this land helps maintain the lands and helps bolster climate resilience by ensuring coal resources under the tract stay in the ground, avoiding harmful emissions.
Rewild is also helping protect land outside of the U.S. in Kenya’s northern rangelands, called “Room to Roam.”
- The rangelands sustain both Kenya’s iconic wildlife and Indigenous communities. Land fragmentation and unsustainable grazing of livestock are fracturing habitat and migration corridors. Development pressure is growing, putting nature and pastoralist cultures at risk.
- The Nature Conservancy has created beneficial partnerships with private and community conservancies and is working to secure three privately-owned parcels, comprising 53,500 acres, by transitioning them into wildlife conservancies.
- These conservancies, which will be held and managed by Kenyan trusts, will be essential pieces in a vast mosaic of savannah habitat that is home to some of the world’s most beloved wildlife, including the iconic Big Five: lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and African buffalo. The conservancies will also support a sustainable future for local communities that share this irreplaceable landscape.
Given in 2021 and 2022
* Rewild contributed toward the protection of these acres, but additional funding was required.
More on Our Approach
We develop and construct solar energy systems that provide up to 35 years of renewable energy while improving the lands on which they’re sited.
The positive impact we can make on the environment wouldn’t be possible without the individuals, businesses, and communities joining us in our mission.
Solar energy helps reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, but we also believe in preserving the land sited for solar projects by preserving the ecosystem it provides.