Partial shade from solar panels increase abundance of flowers in late summer

Partial shade from solar panels increase abundance of flowers in late summer
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Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain A new study by Oregon State University researchers found that shade provided by solar panels increased the abundance of flowers under the panels and delayed the timing of their bloom, both findings that could aid the agricultural community. The study, believed to be the first that looked at the impact of solar panels on flowering plants and insects, has important implications for solar developers who manage the land under solar panels, as well as agriculture and pollinator health advocates who are seeking land for pollinator habitat restoration. The findings, published in the journal Scientific Reports , are being released at a time when some states, such as Minnesota, North Carolina, Maryland, Vermont and Virginia, have developed statewide guidelines and incentives to promote pollinator-focused solar installations. "The understudy of solar panels is typically managed to limit the growth of plants," said Maggie Graham, a faculty research assistant at Oregon State and lead author of the paper. "My thought coming into this research was can we flip that? Why not plant under solar arrays with something beneficial to the surrounding ecosystem, like flowers that attract pollinators? Would insects even use it? This study demonstrates that the answer […]

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