Pollinator Friendly Native Habitat
ENGIE Distributed Renewables uses vegetation plantings as a standard element in ground mount designs for distributed solar arrays, including seed mixes of grasses and flowering forbs that would naturally grow in the area. Each site is seeded with a diverse mix of nearly 25 different plant species, including plants native to the region.
When established, these restored habitats:
- Provide havens for pollinators, birds and wildlife
- Improve the natural ecosystem by increasing biodiversity
- Protect downstream terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems from nitrate contamination
- Potentially increase energy production due to the creation of a micro-climate within the array.
Get to know pollinators
Pollinators are nature’s pollen movers: the insects, birds and small animals that naturally fertilize plants by moving pollen from one part of a flower to another. Since many plants rely on pollinators to reproduce and make fruit, it’s important that pollinators have safe environments to live and thrive.
Honey bees and other bee species, butterflies, wasps, beetles, flies, some birds and even bats are pollinators.
How pollination works
Hidden inside its petals, every flower has nectar, a stigma and an anther, which is covered in pollen. For the plant to create fruit and produce seeds, the pollen must be moved from the anther to the stigma. That’s where pollinators come in — they do this important work as they search for nectar and nesting materials.
Humans, birds and animals need pollinators
In one year, pollinators make hundreds of trillions of visits to flowers. And it’s important that they do. Just one strawberry requires 20 visits from a pollinator. Imagine how many visits it takes to create a strawberry pie!
To create one piece of fruit, pollinators need to visit a plant’s flower multiple times:
They help make food, clothes and more
Pollinators are in danger
Pollinators are part of nature’s food chain
Restored habitats create natural protection
The grasses and flowering forb plantings around the solar panels at all our ground mount installations are native plants — those which naturally grow in the region — and provide havens for animals, insects and birds (including pollinators).
Restored native habitats create natural microsystems where plants, birds, insects and animals thrive.
These natural habitats protect the pollinator food chain. Native flowers provide nectar for insects. Birds eat the seeds and insects. The plants’ stalks and brush provide nesting and safety for all.
Top soil protection
The deep roots of native plants help hold soil in place and naturally protect it from storms and erosion. Fields that grow crops or grass with shallow roots can lose more than five tons of top soil per acre every year. In fact, one 40-acre pollinator-friendly habitat could prevent the erosion of more than 6,000 tons of top soil over 30-years. And, farms closer to natural habitat produce more crop yield.
The deep and complex root system of these diverse plant species:
- Holds soil in place
- Reduces soil erosion and degradation
- Increases stormwater infiltration (avg. 2X), reducing flood potential
- Filters stormwater runoff as it flows through the roots
- Captures and utilizes nitrates
- Revolves 80–100% of suspended soils (on average)