By Rob Davis, Director of the Center for Pollinators in Energy
at Fresh Energy, PV Magazine
A promising new trend is showing signs of incrementally helping the solar industry to increase revenue, decrease operations and management costs, open up new markets, accelerate permitting, decrease litigation risk, and attract new land lease partners. It’s not a new module, inverter, or racking — it’s an innovative approach to the vegetation design and management. Civil engineers working on LEED-certified building design have long known that the vegetation specified in a project can provide meaningful functional benefits, in addition to being a cost-effective way to gain points toward the standards. These innovations—using ecology to benefit technology—have now made their way into the solar industry in projects throughout the country. Continue reading here.
So, a solar developer and a beekeeper walk into a craft brewery … have you heard this one before? No? Then you need to chat with Rob Davis. He’s the director of the Center for Pollinators in Energy at Fresh Energy, a non-profit that promotes better vegetation on solar farms and pulls together partnerships to include bee apiaries as well.
“Whenever a solar farm is built on arable land, we want to make sure that we make productive use of that land,” Davis says, whose team has developed solar farm vegetation programs for more than 3,500 acres of projects in 10 states. “We want solar farms treated like rich soil that we’re borrowing from our grandkids, who will be inheriting it after that solar asset hits its end of life in 30 or 40 years.” Continue reading here.
Photo: A pollinator-friendly solar farm designed and managed by Engie.
ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Xcel’s New Plan: Coal-Free By 2030, Nuclear Until 2040: Company Plans To Shut Its 2 Remaining Coal Plans In Upper MIdwest A Decade Early, Wisconsin Public Radio. Xcel said it will submit its plan to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in July. If approved, the company said it would slash carbon emissions in the region by more than 80 percent by 2030, compared to 2050.
The U.S. energy storage market will nearly double this year, by Christian Roseland, PV Magazine The combination of solar plus storage is super-charging the deployment of batteries across the country, and IHS Markit says that the United States will become the largest market for grid-tied energy storage this year.
Trump should back renewable energy, it’s fiscally responsible, by Jon Anderson and Heather Reams, Opinion Contributors, The Hill Jon Anderson is a founder of The Western Way, a non-profit organizations focused on free-market solutions to U.S. environmental challenges. Heather Reams is the executive director of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, a non-profit dedicated to advancing Republican solutions to address our nation’s energy, economic and environmental security while increasing America’s competitive edge.
Jobs in the Community Solar Industry, Coalition for Community Solar Access
Another strategy is to search local and national solar and wind energy companies’ websites for postings of renewable energy jobs.
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.
[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 morehere.