Pollinator-Friendly Ground Cover Now Required for New Solar Projects

Pollinator-Friendly Ground Cover Now Required for New Solar Projects

MCE is excited to announce a pollinator program requirement designed to safeguard critical habitats.* MCE is the first Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program that requires new solar project partners to plant pollinator-friendly ground cover throughout the project site and submit a pollinator scorecard every three years.

This new requirement – which applies to both our Feed-in Tariff program and power purchase agreements – will take even greater advantage of land where solar projects are built, ensuring that the space is used to generate clean energy for our customers, while providing much-needed habitat for pollinators such as monarch butterflies.

“We are greatly encouraged by MCE’s decision to become the first community choice aggregation organization to require a pollinator-friendly scorecard in its solar procurement,” said Rob Davis, Director of the Center for Pollinators in Energy. “Requiring disclosure of what will be growing under and around PV solar panels is a critical and meaningful first step toward encouraging greater innovation in ground cover design and management. Recovery of the western monarch population will only happen with thoughtful initiatives that encourage the creation of acres of flowering meadows like this one by MCE.”

Pollinator species including monarch butterflies, native bees, hummingbirds, moths, and other wildlife have experienced global population decline over the last 10 years due to habitat loss, climate change, and exposure to chemicals such as pesticides.

MCE’s new pollinator program requirement will provide additional habitat for these critical pollinators and ensure best practices for keeping habitats healthy long term, including prohibiting chemical spraying at pollinator sites, and mowing and maintaining the sites at times that are most appropriate for supporting pollinator populations.

“We are very excited about MCE’s recent decision to require pollinator-friendly habitats as part of new solar projects,” said Linzi Gay, Clif Family Winery’s General Manager. “MCE is already a strong partner to Clif, allowing us to further our mission by purchasing Deep Green 100% renewable energy. This new policy further demonstrates MCE’s commitment to being a thoughtful community partner.”

Watch Rob Davis, Director of the Center for Pollinators in Energy’s Tedx Talk below to learn more about the importance of pollinator-friendly solar.

* Development of pollinator program requirements funded in part by the Clif Family.
Photo of solar panels with groundcover courtesy Rob Davis/Fresh Energy.

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