By Madelyn Beck, NPR Illinois
Researchers at Argonne National Lab in Illinois and the National Renewable Energy Lab in
Colorado think that a rapidly growing energy sector may be a key opportunity. Not only could
pollinator habitat mitigate possible solar-field damage, like soil erosion and the loss of plant
species, but could actively help fortify the soil and environment.
Rob Davis with Minnesota-based nonprofit Fresh Energy, which advocates for things like
renewable energy, said putting pollinator habitat under solar panels could also be a boon for
rural areas. He said the combination gives landowners another form of steady income and helps pollinate crops around the area. Read more here.
Photo Credit: Rob Davis / Fresh Energy
By Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive
[Xcel Energy Minnesota] plans to add 2,600 MW to 3,000 MW of solar generation by 2030 and all those projects will be required to disclose a completed copy scorecard for pollinator-friendly sites. Pollinator-friendly vegetation isn’t required in order for a project to be considered by the utility, but it will establish a precedent “of priorities and values,” Rob Davis, director of the center for pollinators in energy at Fresh Energy, told Utility Dive.
Pollinator friendly solar sites are a growing trend among utilities seeking to more holistically reduce their ecological footprint. Sites are designated as “pollinator friendly” based on state legislation, which was first passed in Minnesota in 2016 and has since spread to five other states. Read more here.
Photo by Rob Davis, Fresh Energy
Kearney’s Solar Farm, comprising 22,464 panels on 53 acres at Tech oNE Crossing, is currently Nebraska’s largest. The 5.7-megawatt solar array’s generating capacity is enough to power about 900 houses or supply 5 percent of Kearney’s energy load.
An additional distinguishing feature of Kearney’s Solar Farm is that it is a nationally-recognized pollinator-friendly site, benefiting local food producers. Related stories:
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Photo by Engie Distributed Solar
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