Fossil fuels are a finite material. Estimates vary, but there will come a day when we run out of them. The sooner we can switch over to cleaner, renewable energy, the better. One of the leading contenders for utility-scale energy needs is solar power.
The presence of large-scale solar projects is increasing dramatically. To keep up with demand, 3 million acres of additional land will be needed by 2030.
While the benefits of solar energy are well known, many communities struggle to get approval for utility-scale solar projects. Why?
They can have high up-front cost, they’re not particularly attractive, and they require a lot of land.
Traditionally, solar installations have used turf grass and gravel to cover the ground, which is expensive. Not only does this add to the up-front cost, but it increases heat around the solar panels, reducing their efficiency.
Turf and gravel are also susceptible to stormwater runoff, which increases soil erosion.
There is, however, a way to offset these issues while providing an additional benefit to the environment: integrating utility-scale solar projects with natural pollinator habitat.
Cheaper, Easier, and Much More Beneficial
The presence of pollinator vegetation makes utility scale solar projects better in many ways.
Pollinator seed mixes and planting operations can be more affordable than current practices. Once the pollinator habitat is established, less maintenance is needed, saving additional money. Pollinator habitat also provides superior protection again stormwater runoff and erosion. They even create a cooler microclimate, increasing the efficiency of the solar panels.
And of course, pollinator habitat increases the presence of pollinators. Pollinators like bees and butterflies serve a vital role in the environment both on a micro and macro scale.
Nearly 75% of crops consumed by humans worldwide rely on pollinator insects for pollination. Current research indicates that having pollinator habitat next to active farm fields can boost crop yields as well.
Modern pesticides, along with the loss of pollinator habitat, has resulted in a significant decline in pollinator species. Solar fields provide a perfect opportunity to counteract this situation, providing clean energy while restoring balance to the ecosystem.
Establishing Pollinator Friendly, Utility-Scale Solar Projects with FDCE
FDCE is a conservation and bioenergy company with a rich history in establishing pollinator habitat in diverse locations. Our full-service solutions handle the entire process for you.
For establishing and maintaining pollinator-friendly utility-scale solar projects, FDCE provides:
- Pollinator scorecard compliant seed mixes
- Seedbed preparation (mechanical and chemical)
- Planting services
- On going management, monitoring, and maintenance
We have the tools and the know-how needed for successful pollinator habitat establishment. Contact us today to learn more.