Plants Needed By Bees Should Be Chosen To Not Interfere With Solar Panels, Biologist Warns

An expert on biodiversity has appealed to anyone setting up solar panels to avoid harming native plants.

Jessica Fox is a conservation biologist at the Californian Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

As solar energy appears to develop into an affordable mainstream energy source, Jessica warned that those installing them “don’t want to include plant species that will grow higher than the solar arrays and shade them because that has energy production and system reliability implications”.

Jessica explained: “It’s important to choose a native seed mix with mature heights that do not exceed the minimum ground clearance height of the lower edge of arrays.”

Numerous pollinators depend on certain native plants, and EPRI’s team of experts emphasises the critical state of the rusty patched bumblebee, an endangered North American pollinator species.

She emphasised: “Solar is positioned to play a critical role in decarbonising our energy systems.”

Researchers at EPRI said they would continue to examine solar power installations’ effects on local ecosystems.

Solar energy – which is considered vital regarding gaining independence from fossil fuels – accounted for 3.3 per cent of the United States’ total electricity generation.

One of the most spectacular installations is a 48,000-panel Mickey-Mouse-head-shaped facility outside Disney’s EPCOT theme park in Bay Lake, Florida.

Walt Disney Company officials said the goal was to produce or purchase zero-carbon electricity to power all its operations by 2030.


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