Native Vegetation Performance under a Solar PV Array at the National Wind Technology Center

Brenda Beatty, Jordan Macknick, James McCall, Genevieve Braus, David Buckner

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Construction activities at most large-scale ground installations of photovoltaic (PV) arrays are preceded by land clearing and re-grading to uniform slope and smooth surface conditions to facilitate convenient construction access and facility operations. The impact to original vegetation is usually total eradication followed by installation of a gravel cover kept clear of vegetation by use of herbicides. The degree to which that total loss can be mitigated by some form of revegetation is a subject in its infancy, and most vegetation studies at PV development sites only address weed control and the impact of tall plants on the efficiency of the solar collectors from shading.This study seeks to address this void, advancing the state of knowledge of how constructed PV arrays affect ground-level environments, and to what degree plant cover, having acceptable characteristics within engineering constraints, can be re-established.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages54
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Accompanying Zipped Data File (1.1 MB) at

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-1900-66218


  • ground environment
  • plant recovery
  • plants
  • PV array
  • revegetation
  • solar collectors
  • vegetation impact


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