Pollinator-focused solar arrays

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Science  07 May 2021:
Vol. 372, Issue 6542, pp. 585-586
DOI: 10.1126/science.372.6542.585-b

Although the power generated from the sun is “green,” the deployment of large receiving arrays is often less so. At their worst, these are large swaths of solar panels that sit above dry and dead fields. Large-scale solar production can be improved if panels are combined with native or other flowering plants. Graham et al. show that such “agrivoltaic” combinations provide a variety of microclimates with different light, temperature, and moisture levels and thus plant composition. The authors found that 65 species of native pollinators visited flowers in full-sun and partially shaded plots within a solar farm. Moreover, the partially shaded plots extended bloom time, which benefited late-season foragers in water-compromised regions and seasons. Combining solar panels with plants can thus make a planet-friendly energy source even more friendly.

Sci. Rep. 11, 7452 (2021).

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