“The decisions we make today regarding vegetation choice beneath solar panels will influence the health of hundreds of thousands of acres of land.”

Most solar installations are developed with single seed turf or bare ground beneath the panels. The grass seed is inexpensive and can be easily managed by application of pesticides and occasional mowing. This type of vegetation management under panels can lead to decreased water retention, less soil stability, reduced carbon sequestration, and loss of habitat for pollinators, birds, and wildlife.

Since the life of a regular solar panel can be 25 or more years, the solar developments installed in the early 2020s will likely occupy the land until the 2040s and 2050s.

There are alternatives to turf and bare ground under solar panels. The co-location of solar and beneficial agriculture is referred to “agrivoltaics.”

Types of Agrivoltaics

Pollinator Planting


Crop Production

Benefits of Agrivoltaics


  • Water Conservation – Less water is needed for some plants to produce the same yield or more. Native plantings improve water retention resulting in less water runoff.
  • Improved Soil – Plant biodiversity and native plants with deep roots stabilize soils and increase carbon sequestration.
  • Higher Crop Yields – Some plants produce a larger yields in arid regions when grown under panels.
  • Crop Protection – Crops are better protected from high winds and hail, reducing risk of crop destruction.
  • Increased Habitat – Planting native plants supports local ecosystems, encouraging insects, birds and wildlife to use the location.
  • Economic Opportunity – Revenues from land leases, electricity sales and/or specialty ‘solar crop’ marketing strategies can help support farming families.

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