Today’s Solutions: February 06, 2023

Solar farms? Good. Solar farms surrounded by prairie grasses and budding flowers? Excellent. In Minnesota, it’s becoming common for large solar energy sites to have pollinator-friendly plantings around them. Not only do they provide habitat for the bee and butterfly populations people have been concerned about, but they also promote soil health and probably even boost the solar panels’ electricity output on warm days.

That last bit may sound a bit outlandish, but the hypothesis is that “thicker vegetation under and around solar panels creates a cooler microclimate, which actually generates more electricity from the panels.” This alone might motivate more solar farms around America to plant flowers around their panels. This practice is fairly common in the UK, but it’s starting to gain traction. In fact, Xcel Energy, one of America’s biggest utility companies, now requires solar developers to include plans for plantings at proposed sites. Now, this is something we can get behind.

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