Constructed in 2016, the 62 MW Marshall Solar Energy Project is located on 355 acres of agricultural land in Lyon County, three miles east of Marshall, Minnesota. Partly in response to several visual renderings of the project showing acres of closely mowed suburban-style turfgrass, the proposed project received little support and drew active pushback from residents who were concerned about the loss of prime farmland and how it could affect their property values.
Despite its many benefits, pollinator-friendly vegetation and seed mix designs are not yet ‘business as usual’ on solar sites. Fresh Energy recently convened two key national leaders to share their perspectives. Read what happened
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.
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.