Can Solar Energy Fuel Pollinator Conservation?

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Abstract

As the expansion of solar power spreads through much of the United States, members of the solar industry are working to change how solar energy facilities are designed and presented to the public. This includes the addition of habitat to conserve pollinators. We highlight and discuss ongoing efforts to couple solar energy production with pollinator conservation, noting recent legal definitions of these practices. We summarize key studies from the field of ecology, bee conservation, and our experience working with members of the solar industry (e.g., contribution to legislation defining solar pollinator habitat). Several recently published studies that employed similar practices to those proposed for solar developments reveal features that should be replicated and encouraged by the industry. These results suggest the addition of native, perennial flowering vegetation will promote wild bee conservation and more sustainable honey beekeeping. Going forward, there is a need for oversight and future research to avoid the misapplication of this promising but as of yet untested practice of coupling solar energy production with pollinator-friendly habitat. We conclude with best practices for the implementation of these additions to realize conservation and agricultural benefits.

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Dolezal, A. G., Torres, J., & O’Neal, M. E. (2021, August 1). Can Solar Energy Fuel Pollinator Conservation? Environmental Entomology. Entomological Society of America. https://doi.org/10.1093/ee/nvab041

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