Solar farm land survey

Renewable energy land surveys from Gridmark Survey

Gridmark Survey and our connection to our environment 

At Gridmark Survey we are mindful of the importance of sustainability and our own impact on the environment.  We estimate that our survey team spends around 70%-80% of their time outdoors which reinforces our connection with the very environment that we’re asked to survey.

We often photograph and post about our encounters with various kinds of wildlife, whether it be herring gulls dive-bombing our survey drones, inquisitive livestock wondering why we’ve invaded their paddock or remarkable encounters with red squirrels, passerines, insects or deer whilst we laser scan parts of a forest – it is certainly a perk of our job but we see it more as a privilege to be granted access to our great British outdoors on a daily basis.  It is certainly a huge contributing factor to why our team loves what we do.

As a company we’re also committed to continuing to improve our own sustainability as we continue to reduce, reuse and recycle where possible, transition our survey fleet to fuel efficient/hybrid vehicles and work with local supply chain partners wherever possible.

bat at topo survey
beautiful scenery topo survey

Our environmental land survey projects

Then there are of course, the survey projects themselves.

We are specialists in environmental, ecclesiastical and heritage surveying projects and continue to work regularly for The Environment Agency, The National Trust, English Heritage, specialist environmental bodies such as Tees River Trust and private estates such as Raby Estates who we helped with their Salmon Ladder Project in 2022.  Over the years we’ve also become particularly au fait with spotting the signs of roosting bats which are protected by law and are a significant consideration for many restoration projects, particularly on listed and historic buildings.

solar farm land surveys

Like many professional survey service providers we are also regularly involved with all manner of development projects ranging from new housing developments, commercial developments on brownfield sites through to whole town refurbishment projects.  Our survey work often feeds into important feasibility studies where creatures such as Great Crested Newt need to be protected.  This important link between our survey reports and our environment is a huge source of pride for the team.


Gridmark and renewable energy land surveys

Each year our survey team has become more and more involved in land surveys for sites which are either being considered or already chosen as sites which will house renewable energy sources, ranging from onshore wind turbines to solar farms, as the government and the energy providers transition away from fossil fuels to a more sustainable future of energy supply.

We have been lucky to be close witnesses to how these renewables sites have become both increasingly sophisticated and ever more sympathetic to their local environment in the planning and implementation phases.  

One such change has been the desire to not simply replace agricultural sites with renewable energy production but to find ways in which both can be achieved on the same site.  Moving away from treating the two as mutually exclusive now sees us being asked to gather data on sites which aim to see livestock grazing amongst acres of solar farm panels – known as “Solar Grazing” which is explained well in this video covering some large sites in the USA.  Sheep, or even cows, can not only go about their grazing pretty much as usual, but the panels can provide them with shelter in inclement weather. 

 The livestock also provide important added benefits.  Firstly their very presence supports huge biodiversity with insects and birdlife in particular being prime beneficiaries.  But also they ensure that the vegetation around the panels is naturally maintained meaning they remain optimised for maximum energy capture and easy to access when technician visits are required.

We have now worked on dozens of projects on sites which are being considered for vast solar farms which once operational will save hundreds of thousands of tonnes or carbon emissions each year and will edge the country closer to being both self-sufficient in terms of energy and carbon neutrality.


Renewable energy site unique challenges

Our team’s understanding of such renewable energy project sites provides us with a unique insight into what our consultant client’s require in terms of the survey details they feed into the larger project which means that we’re very well placed to foresee, plan and deal with some of the unique challenges that can occur on such sites.

One relatively common issue is some public objection.  Whilst most people see the benefit and need to significantly develop our energy infrastructure for a more sustainable future, there can sometimes be a “not in my back yard” mentality.  Whilst we are not the company making such decisions we have found ourselves on the sharp end of some local’s tongues as they are keen to verbalise their issues with such a development.  That said, when we explain the dual purpose of some of the proposed sites, many have been interested to learn more and we’re happy to signpost them to further information as we continue to conduct our topographical survey work.

Due to the large nature of most of the sites we often deploy an array of survey technology at our disposal, including our fixed wing drones.  And we also commonly use Lidar laser detectors on sites where there is more vegetation – the lasers on this equipment are able to penetrate through canopies rather than us having to deploy team members on foot into forests or dense areas of foliage which saves us and our client lots of time.  This is the same technology used for military operations and even in Indiana Jones level exploration in dense jungles for ancient ruins.  Whilst we’re yet to discover the Holy Grail we do now consider ourselves experts in this important and niche aspect of land surveying and look forward to contributing to this important, sustainable transition on many more projects in the future.


If you need land survey or survey advice relating to your renewables project please get in touch with one of our friendly team and we can discuss your specific needs.

Verified by MonsterInsights