Inside Climate News discusses Pollinator-Friendly Solar Could be a Win-Win for Climate and Landowners, but Greenwashing is a Worry. Solar developers are planting native flowers and grasses near—or even in between—solar panels, addressing the twin problems of pollinator decline and climate change.
Between a colorful array of wildflowers and the harmonious buzz of bees and butterflies circling overhead, the aesthetics alone of so called pollinator-friendly solar farms may intrigue developers—making for easy marketing.
But proponents say the incentives for incorporating native grasses and wildflowers throughout a solar plant extend far beyond flashy advertising.
Research published by Yale’s Center for Business and the Environment has found that pollinator-friendly solar can boost crop yields, increase the recharging of groundwater, reduce soil erosion and provide long-term cost savings in operations and maintenance. The research also found that by creating a cooler microclimate, perennial vegetation can increase the efficiency of solar panels, upping their energy output.
“I saw this as a potential way to smooth the path forward for increased solar development,” said Katie Siegner, an associate with the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Electricity practice who co-authored the Yale report, referring to the advantages the authors described.