Over the course of the 2020s, Indiana is expected to install 8,500 Megawatts (MWs) of solar energy. With a MW of solar energy requiring anywhere from 5 to 10 acres of land, that means that Indiana’s solar farms could have a land footprint the size of Indiana’s state parks.
These farms, which will generate new tax revenues for struggling rural counties and create carbon-free, air pollution-free electricity, use a lot of land.
HEC, other Indiana groups, and regional organizations have been publicly advocating since early 2020 that such farms be pollinator friendly, for the sake of our wildlife, soil and water conservation, reduced stormwater runoff, and beauty. Such landscapes also create greater community support for solar farms, which can be 1,000+ acres in size.
Such environmentally sustainable approaches to the land underneath solar panels can be cost-competitive, taking into account both start-up and operating costs, with conventional/default perennial grass approaches to the land — with smart seed mix design.
We’re so encouraged to see institutions and utilities step up to be leaders on this issue in Indiana.
Here are some recent examples:
- Ancilla College – has planted native pollinator-friendly wildflowers under and around their campus solar arrays
- Inovateus Solar – an Indiana-based solar developer that is building a large pollinator-friendly solar farm in Cass County, IN
- NIPSCO – included pollinator-friendly language in their latest request for proposal
- Noble REMC – for starting this pollinator-friendly solar array in rural electric service territory in Indiana
- Randolph County – for adopting a far-sighted pollinator-friendly ordinance
For inquiries or to share other great pollinator-friendly solar developments in Indiana, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.