Pollinator-Friendly Solar: Do it for the Bees

Pollination is required for approximately 80% of the world’s crops.

Pollinator populations have declined globally in recent years as a result of habitat loss, climate change, and chemical exposure such as pesticides.

Furthermore, pollinator populations are declining, posing a threat to global crop production and ecosystem health.

One solution could be pollinator-friendly solar.

Achieving Pollinator-Friendly Solar

Pollinator-friendly solar projects are those that have a ground cover of native pollinator plant species.

These projects provide critical pollinators, like butterflies and native bees, with a diverse food supply and its much-needed habitat.

According to scientists, utility-scale solar will cover nearly 2 million acres by 2030.

Pollinator-friendly solar maximizes land use while simultaneously addressing two issues, namely, pollinator health and climate change.

Increased crop yield, carbon sequestration, groundwater recharge, and reduced soil erosion are all environmental benefits of pollinator-friendly solar.

According to Yale University research published in 2019, pollinator-friendly solar may also provide financial benefits to solar providers, which encourages private adoption.

A microclimate cooler is created by pollinator-friendly ground cover. This increases solar panel efficiency.

Native plants also require less upkeep and can reduce long-term operating costs.

MCE, a non-profit public agency that sets clean energy standards in various communities, has taken steps to support pollinator-friendly solar.

Every three years, any new solar project partners must plant pollinator-friendly ground cover throughout the project site and submit a pollinator scorecard.

Also Read: Bees Activate ‘Medicinal Properties’ Against Parasite Infection During Pollination

MCE Deep Green Champion

Clif Family Winery, an MCE Deep Green Champion, uses 100% renewable energy and recently launched a product line of Solar Grown Honey and Honey Spreads.

The honey they use is collected from hives near several solar farms, including one in Forest City, Iowa, which is one of the first pollinator-friendly solar farms in the region.

Linzi Gay, the General Manager at Clif Family Winery & Farm, pointed out that Clif Bar’s collaboration with NativeEnergy helped fund the Forest City solar farm.

Native Energy is a carbon offset provider that develops projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while benefiting local communities.

Clif Family’s sister company, Clif Bar & Company, built a 5-acre pollinator-friendly solar farm in Twin Falls, Idaho, not only to provide energy for their bakery but also to provide a habitat for local pollinators.

Gay hopes that these pesticide-free, pollinator-friendly habitats will make a long-term difference for butterflies, bees, and other pollinators while maintaining to provide delicious and sustainable products.

The Solar Grown label distinguishes a product from Fresh Energy because it was created on or near a solar farm that satisfies pollinator-friendly solar vegetation standards.

This type of ground cover is typically made up of an assortment of low-growing flowering plants that require little to no maintenance and do not contain pesticides.

Gay explained that as a wine and food company that relies on pollinators to grow the crops that are being used to make the products, her company recognizes the importance of pollinator protection.

The company’s mission is to raise awareness and understanding of what can be done to create healthy pollinator habitats and food sources.

Related article: Worsening Air Pollution Severely Impairs Pollinators’ Ability to Find Plants

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