Securing this strong pollinator-friendly solar ordinance would not have happened without local (Red tail Conservancy), state (Hoosier Environmental Council), and national (Center for Pollinators in Energy and Pheasants Forever) organizations sharing their knowledge and insights with local officials.
Some reflections on this important milestone:
Hoosier Environmental Council: “Solar is going to become a vibrant part of rural Indiana. Such solar farms will not only produce pollution-free energy, but, with the right local policy in place like Randolph County’s, they will help to preserve soil and water and create habitats that benefit Indiana’s birds, bees, and other wildlife. We know that additional Indiana rural counties are formulating their solar ordinances, and HEC and our partners will be helpful in connecting these counties with resources and experts so that their farmers, businesses, and residents can reap the benefits of not only solar-produced electricity, but the many benefits of land stewardship best practices,” Jesse Kharbanda, Executive Director.
Red-tail Conservancy: “The officials of Randolph County have created a win-win situation for their community and the environment with this ordinance. The acres of habitat that will be created will not only be beautiful but also have an incredible impact for wildlife and future generations of people in Randolph County,” Julie Borgmann, Executive Director.
Center for Pollinators in Energy: “EDP Renewables’ use of pollinator-friendly ground cover with this exciting 200 MW solar project for Hoosier Energy demonstrates the company’s community-focused values and considerable skill at embracing innovation,” Rob Davis, Director.
Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever: “Large-scale solar projects proposed in Indiana have, so far, overlooked a critical opportunity to provide additional—and urgently needed—agricultural and ecological benefits. We see a once-in-a-generation opportunity to encourage land use and stewardship practices that provide healthy food sources for beneficial insects and improve the quality of our precious Indiana soils.”
Contact HEC’s Executive Director, Jesse Kharbanda, at email@example.com with any inquires about HEC’s collaborative work to help foster pollinator-friendly solar farms.
The Significance to Indiana:
“A recent study found that more than 50,000 acres of our Indiana conservation lands—healthy habitat for wildlife—were converted to row crop fields over an 8-year period. During this same time the health of Indiana pollinators has plummeted. Native pollinator species numbers are lower than the number needed to pollinate crops and managed species, such as honey bees, experience greater than average losses each year (as many as 63% of colonies are lost annually in Indiana). Among the primary causes of pollinator decline is habitat loss.
Earlier this year an association of northern Indiana counties published a guide on pollinator-friendly solar, and an Indiana-based energy analyst for EQ Research published a detailed report on the topic. In celebration of an 80-acre pollinator-friendly solar array being developed by Inovateus Solar, the City of Logansport officially proclaimed June 26 as “Bird and Pollinator-Friendly Solar Day.” The Indianapolis Star wrote in-depth about the project under the headline “A Magical Solution: solar developers planting flowers that could help save butterflies and bees.”
News Coverage on the Prospects of Pollinator-Friendly Solar in Randolph County, soon to be home to Indiana’s largest solar energy farm.
Photo credit: Fresh Energy.