Jan 17, 2024

Insect Conservation and Solar Energy: A Five-Year Study Reveals Surprising Results

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

“This research highlights the relatively rapid insect community responses to habitat restoration at solar energy sites,” said Leroy Walston.

How could solar energy facilities contribute to insect populations? This is what a recent study published in Environmental Research hopes to address as a team of researchers investigated how insect and plant populations in re-established habitats comprised of wildflowers and native grasses changed during a five-year period in the vicinity of photovoltaic (PV) solar array parks. This study holds the potential to help scientists, engineers, and conservationists gain greater insight into the ecological impact of solar farms on newly planted vegetation.

For the study, the researchers surveyed two solar sites located approximately 100 miles (160 km) apart in southern Minnesota, Eastwood Solar Site and Atwater Solar Site, between 2018 and 2022 for changes in insect and plant populations on restored land with native forbs and grasses. After conducting 358 observations of across sites, the researchers found increases in the biodiversity of both sites, including plant species and total insect abundance.

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