Protect the Pollinators
We would like to share another way in which solar gardens can have a positive impact on the environment – providing habitat for pollinators!
For the past decade, bees have been a hot topic within the environmental community. Eight species of bees have been added to the endangered species list and organizations all over the world have popped up devoted to saving the bees. These small but essential creatures make sure that our crops are sustained year after year. When bees transfer pollen from one plant to another, they are closing the loop of plant reproduction which assures the growth of 30 percent of food crops and 90 percent of wild plants! These crops not only feed humans and herbivorous wild life directly, but they are also used to feed livestock and poultry.
Certain groups like Minnesota’s Fresh Energy pushed for community solar to play a bigger role than just reducing fossil fuel consumption. Solar gardens present a unique opportunity for developers to plant vegetation that can offer numerous benefits to both pollinators and farmers in the proximity. Since solar farms are essentially nontoxic and sit about four feet off the ground, they offer a perfect setting to establish large habitats which can promote a more stable and robust pollinator population. Pollinator-friendly plants can also enrich soils, increase rainwater infiltration, and prevent erosion.
SunShare is proud to support pollinators in both Colorado and Minnesota. When possible, we plant native grass mixes along with pollinator friendly wild flowers at our solar garden sites. In fact, the upkeep of these habitats is built right into our operations and maintenance plans for the solar gardens. This vegetation can be maintained without the use of fertilizers or pesticides, and the pollinators attracted to these gardens support regional fruit and vegetable production. Native plantings also help prevent weeds and minimize erosion and dust. At SunShare, we strive to leave the land on which we build our solar gardens better than we found it.