Best Practices and Training

When planning for a pollinator-friendly solar array, use the following best practices. 

  • Ensure your general contractor uses an experienced vendor for the vegetation design, installation, and management. The partner hired should have demonstrated expertise in establishing and managing meadows.
  • In engineering design, the bottom edge of the panels should be at least 30 inches from the ground and electrical cables and conduit should be buried. For an approximate one-time cost of only $3000 per megawatt per additional foot due to additional steel, having PV panels near waist-height allows for lower-cost seed mixtures and better vegetation establishment while reducing risk of mower-solar collisions. Above-ground cables in a PV solar array block the rows resulting in a significant increase in string-trimming and mowing costs for the life of the asset.

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  • When done right, grazing solar farms with sheep can benefit soils, biodiversity, and farmers/ranchers. However, when best practices aren’t used, continuously grazing sheep can damage the panels, chew on wires, and attract predators. Consult with the American Solar Grazing Association for best practices in rotational grazing of sheep on solar farms.