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.
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.