Habitat protection and agricultural integration in Impact Solar after three years

Promoting pollinator protection

Pollinators such as butterflies, bees, birds and bats support plant reproduction and strengthen strong and resilient ecosystems. Three-quarters of the world’s flowering plants and about 35 percent of the world’s food crops depend on pollinators for reproduction. Some scientists estimate that one in three bites of food we eat is produced by animal pollinators. Habitat loss, climate change and the use of pesticides in agriculture have caused a massive decline in pollinator populations. To support these species, Lightsource bp creates and manages vegetation to support pollinator populations on our solar farms.

At Impact Solar, we have dedicated 10.54 acres to maintain two high-density pollinator gardens. The sites were prepared and planted in 2022, using a native seed mixture American basket flower, purple coneflower, koreopsis lanceleaf, Indian blanket, purple prairie clover, white prairie clover, lemon mint, Golden-Wave, Plains coreopsis, black-eyed Susan, legume, Texas bluegrass, cut daisy and partridge pea. It is expected that the garden will take 2-3 years to become fully established as these plants take root deep underground.

Sheep grazing on a solar farm

By its second year of operation, Impact Solar had grown so much vegetation that mechanical mowing was no longer the most cost-effective maintenance method. Lightsource bp turned to a Texas ranching family for help with solar grazing, a form of agrovoltaics that introduces sheep to solar farms. This keeps the land in agricultural production for the life of the solar project while providing an environmentally friendly and effective ‘mow the lawn’ solution.