Electric Cooperatives Connecting Pollinator Conservation and Clean Energy

Connexus Energy Solar Garden

“Butterflies, birds, and bees find a haven at Connexus” proclaimed the email recently sent to all members of Connexus Energy, Minnesota’s largest customer-owned electric cooperative. Connexus’ community solar garden hasn’t just been popular with its members — the site is also benefitting Minnesota’s bumblebees, honeybees, and foraging song birds — and is on the leading edge of a rapidly growing trend.

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188-2: Minnesota Sets Standard for Land Use on Solar Sites

Vegetative Cover on Solar Site

Authored by agriculture leaders, a new law sends a clear signal to the solar industry regarding a preferred practice for use of land on solar sites. State-wide standard will meaningfully help Minnesota’s bees, monarchs, pheasants, and songbirds, by providing abundant, high-quality foraging habitat on solar sites.

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Soil, Crop, & Storm Water Benefits of Solar Sites

Native Landscaping

When investing $1-$2 million per acre in solar panels, one tends to focus on the benefits directly generated by the new hardware — 100% fuel-free energy with no moving parts. However—simply by using the right seed mix—each of these sites can also provide significant agricultural benefits related to storm water, soil, and crop pollination.

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Clean Energy

October 28 | Using Solar PV to Save Pollinators

bee

In 2016 Minnesota is poised for a large solar bloom — likely more than 4,000 acres of ground-mounted solar will be built. That’s a piddling 0.01 percent of Minnesota’s 26.9 million acres of farmland and will generate less than two percent of the state’s electricity. But for bees, monarch butterflies, and all pollinators, it will provide a world of good.

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