Solar array with sunflowers
Land under and around solar arrays can be planted with pollinator-friendly vegetation: a benefit to agriculture, clean energy, bees and birds.

To achieve this, many solar projects are now integrating a vegetative management plan that features a mix of low-growing and shade tolerant, pollinator friendly plants throughout the array.

Pollinator-Friendly Planting Tips

Bee in daisy

Considering installing solar at your farm, home or business and want to be sure it's friendly to pollinators? Here's how to get started:

  • Step 1: Contact a pollinator vegetation expert (see list below)
  • Step 2: Make sure consultants use the VT Scorecard in their planning and budget to ensure that the site can be considered pollinator-friendly
  • Step 3: Work with already established pollinator seed mixes and suggested native shrubs and plants for screening around solar arrays, such as New England Sample Pollinator Seed Mix – Xerces (PDF) - and make them Bird-Friendly too (Audubon)
  • Step 4: Consider building in an annual assessment plan like this Sample Pollinator Survey Tool (PDF)
  • Step 5: Once you’ve finished your pollinator seeding/plantings, send your completed scorecard to info@revermont.org, and post it on your own website to say you’ve joined the Pollinator-Friendly Solar Initiative!
  • Step 6: We encourage you to share your vegetative management plans as resource materials for others on this website.  Please send them to extweb@uvm.edu and we will share them below.

More Resources:

What's Your Pollinator-Friendly Score?

Whats Your Score

The Pollinator-Friendly Solar Initiative of Vermont has developed a Scorecard for developers to determine how friendly their solar installations can be. These voluntary standards, developed by Vermont experts, draw on the successful MN model that has generated exponential growth in pollinator friendly solar Got a great score? Post the completed form on your website and let's spread the word! Download the VT Scorecard (PDF) and calculate your score.

List of Participating Consultants

Arrowwood Environmental

Expertise on pollinator-friendly seed mixes and vegetative management plans
950 Bert White Road, Huntington, VT 05462
Michael Lew-Smith | michael@arrowwoodvt.com | 802-434-7276 x2

Audubon Vermont

Green Mountain Audubon Center
255 Sherman Hollow Rd., Huntington, VT
Mark LaBarr | MLaBARR@audubon.org | 802-434-3068
Margaret Fowle | mflwle@audubon.org | 802-434-3068

Bee the Change

Expertise on pollinator-friendly seed mixes and vegetative management plans
800 Sheep Farm Rd., Weybridge, VT 05653
802-349-2741
Mike Kiernan | mtleki@gmail.com

SE Group

Expertise on pollinator-friendly seed mixes and vegetative management plans
131 Church St., Suite 300, Burlington, VT 05401
802-862-0098

The Solar Honey Company / Bolton Bees

Expertise on beekeeping under solar arrays and providers of national Solar Honey Standard certification
Chiara Bolton | boltonbees@gmail.com
As seen in National Geographic: "The Tesla of Honey"

VHB

40 IDX Drive, Building 100, Suite 200, South Burlington, VT 05403
802-487-6100
Carla Fenner | cfenner@vhb.com | 802-497-6144
Adam Crary | acrary@vhb.com | 802-497-6101
 

Want to see your name on this list? Complete the VT Scorecard and email it to info@revermont.org.
To view projects' completed scorecards, contact info@revermont.org.

Solar Projects Using Pollinator-Friendly Methods

Many solar projects in Vermont are already participating in the Pollinator-Friendly Solar Initiative. Those below have completed the scorecard or have pledged to join the effort.

New Sites Incorporating Pollinators from the Beginning

Encore Renewables - Bee the Change

  • Middlebury - Meadow Glen Solar, LLC 500kw (4 acres)
  • Middlebury - additional site - 500kw (4 acres)

Grassroots Solar

  • Dorset (with teaching workshops)
  • Pawlett (with teaching workshops)

Green Lantern Group - Bee the Change

  • New Haven, 500kw (4 acres)

GroSolar - GMP, ArrowWood, SE Group

  • Williston, 4.7MW-AC (25-30 acres)
  • Richmond, 2.0MW-AC (10-12 acres)
  • Hartford, 4.99MW-AC (25-30 acres)
  • Panton, 4.9MW-AC (single-axis tracker) (25-30 acres)
  • Williamstown, 4.99MW-AC (25-30 acres)

Retrofits of Existing Sites

All-Earth Renewables - Bee the Change

  • Burlington, Rock Point School, 142kw (1 acre)

Ben & Jerry's

  • Waterbury, 500kw (4 acres)

Mont Vert - Bee the Change

  • Proctor, 66kw (0.5 acres)

Soveren Solar - VSECU Project

  • Guilford, 500kw (4 acres)

Vermont Community Solar - Brattleboro Management Company

  • Kirchheiemr Drive Community Solar, LLC, Bee the Change
  • Guilford, 500kw (3.1 acres, half for planting)

 

Want to see your name on this list? Complete the VT Scorecard and email it to info@revermont.org.

 

More Resources

 

 

 

The Scorecard was produced by the Pollinator-Friendly Solar Initiative of Vermont:

Gund Institute LogoAudubon Vermont LogoEnergy Action NetworkUVM Extension Logo VHB Logo Bee the Change logoRenewable Energy Vermont logoVT Agency of Natural Resources logoVermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets logo

 

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture. University of Vermont Extension, Burlington, Vermont. University of Vermont Extension, and U.S. Department of Agriculture, cooperating, offer education and employment to everyone without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or familial status. Any reference to commercial products, trade names, or brand names is for information only, and no endorsement or approval is intended.

Many thanks to Bee the Change and Fresh-Energy for use of their imagery.