Collaborating with research, industry, and technical advisors to make solar facilities green
Renewable energy is vital to meeting future energy demands and solar plays a key part. However, the number of solar arrays needed to achieve U.S. clean energy targets by 2035 is vast—as large as the state of Connecticut. This means a lot of open space that can bring not only clean energy, but also benefit pollinators such as bees and butterflies.
We’re supporting a research project—the Pollinator Habitat Aligned with Solar Energy, or PHASE, project—funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office that is being led by the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Research by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign evaluates the scalability and configuration of pollinator plantings to encourage pollinators at large-scale solar facilities. Researchers are also evaluating the ecological, performance, and economic effects of pollinator plantings on utility-scale solar.
Our role? We’re leading the development of four tools to support solar industry decision-making on the use of pollinator-friendly vegetation. The tools include an implementation manual, cost-benefit calculator, seed mix selection tool, and pollinator habitat assessment module. Together, they help guide vegetation decision making throughout a project.
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