When we construct solar projects, we try our best to be good neighbors — and not just to our human friends who share the space. As part of our Clean Energy Blueprint, our roadmap to cleaner, renewable energy in Iowa and Wisconsin, we take great care to make things comfortable for pollinators in the area.
In addition to understanding the positive environmental impacts of solar energy, we know how important it is to support native plant growth for pollinators at our solar sites. When constructing new projects or looking at ways to best use existing properties, project managers, contractors, local staff, facilities and environmental specialists look for opportunities to plant, maintain and expand our pollinator habitats. These actions preserve soil conditions, improve surface water quality, foster pollinators and encourage habitat diversity that supports wildlife
To create pollinator-friendly environments in and around our solar sites, we plant native grasses or pollinator mixes underneath and between the solar panels. These plants not only provide ideal resources for bees, butterflies, beetles, bats and other flower-friendly creatures, but also promote the creation of nutrients in the soil. Decades later, when the project is dismantled, the nutrient-rich soil can contribute to crop growth and future farming.
Just picture it — the solar panels at one of our solar sites standing strong and tall, contributing to energy generation for hundreds of thousands of homes across Wisconsin and Iowa. And just nearby, you can find flowering plants standing strong and not quite so tall, among the most colorful and pretty creations the world has to offer. Look a little closer and you’ll see a dazzling array of small critters fluttering from one to the next, pollinating as they go — blissfully unaware they’re doing their part to grow support a healthy ecosystem.
We’re excited to bring such vital (and beautiful) environments to the communities we serve through solar. In honor of Pollinator Week, we’re happy to take some time to stop and smell the flowers—and appreciate the pollinators that call our solar sites home.