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IPFS News Link • Minnesota

Sheep Are Grazing Below Minnesota Solar Panels That Invite Pollinators to Thrive

•, By Andy Corbley

If that last part seems out of place, it's only because this ingenious way to repair prairie biodiversity is only just being adopted in Minnesota, where what could be assumed is a quaint country pasture is actually a solar farm.

Instead of unadorned turf, bare ground or gravel, the terrain underneath the Enel Green Power's solar farm in Chisago County is coated in wild native pollinator-supplying flowers, grasses, and herbs—providing a rich habitat for insects like butterflies, bees, and even small mammals.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Board of Soil and Water Resources, and Public Utilities Commission all encourage this sort of planting under solar farms. All sixteen of Enel's solar farms are seeded with this prairie mix, and managed by Minnesota Natural Landscapes (MNL).

Star Tribune spoke with a woman charged with ensuring the pollinator-friendly vegetation standard among the solar panels was genuine, and not simply a ploy by the energy company to raise capital.

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