Creating Low-Impact Solar Energy Installation Sites With Native Seed Mixes

By 2030, traditional solar installations could cover nearly 2 million acres of land in the United States. This land would be monopolized for one single use — energy production.

The solution? Low-impact solar development. This solar energy installation practice preserves some of the topsoil during installation and involves planting native vegetation under and around the newly installed solar panels. Benefits include better water retention, improving soil health, providing lower-cost energy, nurturing native plant species and building pollinator-friendly habitats, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Keep It Simple, Solar: Developing Native Vegetation at Solar Energy Sites to Improve Drainage, Soil Health and Biodiversity

Popularity for native vegetation around solar farms only continues to grow.

Creating Low-Impact, Pollinator-Friendly Solar Energy Sites with Native Seeds

Solar farms can (and should) do more than produce clean energy. Creating...

“Low-impact solar development, including native and pollinator-friendly vegetation practices, provides numerous, stacked benefits in the form of ecosystem services, operational efficiency, and positive stakeholder relations.”

— Marcus Krembs, Director of Sustainability, Enel Green Power North America

Benefits of Using Native Seeds for Conservation and Restoration Efforts at Solar Energy Installation Sites:

  • Retaining more water than turf grass and gravel during heavy storms and periods of drought
  • Providing pollinator-friendly habitat for insects & wildlife
  • Increasing pollinator activity to nearby crops
  • Reducing soil erosion and building healthy topsoil for future land uses
  • Improving soil health and reversing effects of “brownfield” polluted soil areas
  • Less maintenance, mowing and site upkeep

monarch butterfly on milkweed at a solar energy farm

sheep grazing at a solar energy farm

native seed mixes outside of a solar energy farm installation site

Over 50 Years of Experience Producing High-Quality Native Seed Mixes

Ernst Seeds’ Solar Farm Seed Mixes are designed to minimize maintenance for solar operators while also improving soil health and biodiversity for the benefit of pollinators and wildlife. Our team of specialists can help you determine the best mix for your project. In addition to our Solar Farm Seed Mixes, we also offer custom seed mixes specific to your solar site needs.

Our Fuzz & Buzz™ Solar Farm Seed Mix, designed in partnership with Monarch Vegetation Services and the American Solar Grazing Association (ASGA), provides an additional opportunity for sheep graziers who need more pasture.

Native vegetation is vitally important to ecological restoration. Solar Farm Seed Mixes, thoughtfully designed with native plant species, are becoming the preferred choice for solar operators. With a clear understanding of vegetation, cover crops and a well-designed erosion control plan, beneficial native vegetation can be an all around win-win.

To discuss your solar farm project fill out the form below or contact us directly.

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