The PHASE Project: New Research and Tools to Inform Pollinator Habitat on Utility-Scale Solar

Jordan Martin

Research output: NRELPresentation

Abstract

The solar industry is responding to demand for building a clean energy future. At the same time, pollinator declines and habitat losses are resulting in listing consideration for once-common species like monarch butterflies, plus petitions to list bees and other species. How can projects responsibly co-locate pollinator plantings at solar facilities? What ecological and performance benefits can be realized from pollinator plantings? How do developers and owners weigh the costs and challenges of maintaining pollinator plantings and determine the effects it has on power generation, community acceptance, and operations? The Pollinator Habitat Aligned with Solar Energy (PHASE) project is a four-year research project that aims to answer these questions and better support the solar industry in successfully implementing pollinator plantings. This project is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Energy Technologies Office. In collaboration with an advisory group composed of industry and technical professionals, the PHASE team developed methodologies to evaluate the impacts of plantings on both biodiversity and the facility operations, including the diversity of plant and insect communities, pollinator services being provided by the site, and the effects of pollinator vegetation on panel temperature and efficiency. The PHASE team also used data to develop tools designed to better support solar industry decision-making on pollinator vegetation including a Pollinator Planting Implementation Manual, a Cost Comparison Tool, a Seed Selection Tool, and Habitat Assessment Module Guidance. Final versions of the four tools will be released this year.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages15
StatePublished - 2024

Publication series

NamePresented at the American Clean Power (ACP) Siting & Permitting Conference, 11-13 March 2024, Colorado Springs, Colorado

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-6A20-88958

Keywords

  • agrivoltaic
  • ecovoltaic
  • PHASE project
  • pollinator habitat
  • solar

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