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Bees, sheep, crops: Solar developers tout multiple benefits

Posted at 1:04 AM, Nov 04, 2021

Solar is a renewable energy source that can help wean the world off fossil fuels that produce climate-warming gases, but it also could benefit the environment and economy in ways not as well known.

As panels spread across the landscape, the grounds around them can be used for native grasses and flowers that attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

Some solar farms are being used to graze sheep, and scientists are growing tomatoes, peppers and other crops beneath the panels.

Advocates say such beneficial uses can lower resistance from critics who say solar panels waste farmland and look unattractive.

“We need healthy agricultural communities, but we also need renewable energy,” said Jordan Macknick, the renewable energy lab’s lead analyst for InSPIRE.