HOW SOLAR FARMS SERVE AS POLLINATOR FOOD SUPPLIES
September 29, 2021
Solar power systems offer affordable, reliable, and sustainable green energy. They also showcase a great reason to have your vote of confidence as the best energy source to replace fossil fuels.
Recent studies show that solar plants can serve as a great way to replenish our food production by giving pollinators a safe haven.
Why Is This Necessary?
Studies have found that more than 100 different crops in the US rely on pollinators. However, due to habitat loss, global warming, and other effects of climate change, pollinators or bees are facing decline. Loss of bees worldwide is often identified as an extinction-level risk for humans as nearly 35%of global crop production is dependent upon pollinators. The world heavily relies on agriculture and plants like berries, tomatoes, peppers, watermelon, and citrus fruits which rely on bees to spread their pollen. There is a critical situation at hand. Mankind may face serious declines in food production from favourable pollinator habitats if not preserved.
Can Solar Installations Really Support This Habitat?
Now, as countries are showing their inclination towards offering land mass for renewable energy generation through solar power system, the same can be used to attract pollinators by keeping plants that bees or butterflies need. This is a perfect example of creating an ecosystem that can sustain each other while replenishing climate degradation.
States in the US – including Illinois, Missouri, Vermont, New York, Maryland, Minnesota, Michigan and South Carolina have already implemented policies to promote habitats that can support pollinators. The preference of creating such a habitat alongside solar panel systems is a decisive and practical decision in favour of the community and the planet in all aspects.
Growth in Solar Demand Is a Great Opportunity
Solar energy demand has been growing at an unprecedented rate. In the last decade, solar has shown nearly 42% of average annual growth rate. The US has close to 100 GW of solar capacity right now that can power more than 18 million homes. Alongside solving the energy crisis solar is creating jobs as well. From 2013 to 2018, solar jobs increased by 11% per year and in 2020, more than 230,000 Americans were employed in solar industries. In Q2 2021, nearly 5.7 gigawatts of solar power has been installed in the US, showing close to 45% increase from Q2 2020. The White House has already announced a blueprint to give solar energy close to 40% share in total energy by 2035. In this scenario, solar installations in Q2 2021 amounting to 56% of all new U.S. electric capacity additions in the first half of 2021, adds new hope and bright future for solar in the US.
The continued demand and growth in solar introduces competitive costs for solar energy and brings more favourable policies which allows people to choose solar. With more jobs and security in energy transmission it is also important that we focus on climate improvement and environmental restoration from the damage that fossil fuel usage has brought forward. Solar panel systems fortunately offer a great path to solve this dilemma.
Environmental impact regulating offices like National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) also look for solar plants that can aid in environmental improvement. In such scenarios, there is a great way to make solar plants cater to your energy needs and also serve a greater purpose by enhancing the ecosystem through giving space for native vegetation growth and improving local and migratory pollinator health.
Understanding the importance, Illinois and other states including California have developed scorecards to determine if a site is ideal for a habitat. In February 2020, MCE in California became the first CCA to adopt pro-pollinator policies.
Helps Farmers Too
Allowing your solar panel systems to have pollinator-friendly vegetation can offer multiple ecological and economic benefits to stakeholders. Covering the ground with plants can preserve groundwater and reduce erosion. Understanding the benefits, farmers in Minnesota and other states are already reaping benefits by leasing farmland to install pollinator-friendly solar farms. Leasing farm land to solar developers can help farmers keep their land remain uncultivated to restore the nutrition and minerals within the soil while still making a profit.
Solar power system-pollinator partnerships hold potential. The time is now. Let’s take a step ahead and be part of the tide that is bringing change of positivity through accepting, adopting, and using green energy while doing their part to protect the planet.