Solar Arrays = Pollinator Sanctuaries?

July 7, 2017

 

    Super interesting field trip to Hampshire College's sixteen acre solar installation (translation: huge) with Facilities director Todd Holland.  With great foresight, the array was planned to include native pollinator plants between rows of panels.  Prof. Seeta Sistla has a grant to study long-term effects on soil and ecology of the plantings with the goal of sharing best practices. 

   I envision the rapid adoption of a local standard like this instead of grass or concrete or pebbles as the base of arrays, which is much more ecological and climate friendly!  Visit Seeta's website for more information.

   OF NOTE: One of the primary early adopters of marrying solar arrays and pollinator sanctuaries is the State of Minnesota.  

"Investing in pollinator-friendly native plants at solar sites benefits multiple stakeholders: installers, environmental advocates and communities. A new voluntary standard signed into Minnesota law in May 2016 was the first of its kind to set a precedent for pollinator-friendly native groundcover at solar farms."

 

Since Massachusetts is a leader in solar installations (2nd to California I heard), we could be effective advocates for converting existing arrays to pollinator plantings and new arrays incorporating these practices from the beginning.  I will add more about this under our science page later.

 

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