Yes! Native vegetation and pollinator habitats can not only grow, but thrive, under solar panels.
According to the Center for Pollinators in Energy, deep-rooted native flowers and grasses planted on solar sites can build topsoil, capture and filter storm water, and provide healthy food for bees and insects that provide services to food and agricultural crops. Pairing beehives or beekeeping operations with native plants and flowers can also enhance the productivity of the land.
While vegetation can help keep solar panels cool, panels can also help keep crops and vegetation cooler during the day by providing shade to areas that are normally exposed to intense sunlight. Inversely, solar panels can keep crops and vegetation warmer at night by retaining heat and sheltering them from the elements.
Additionally, developers will often see an increase in the performance of the solar panels when vegetation has been added beneath them. This is because vegetation can contribute to keeping the soil under solar panels cool, which improves their effectiveness.
Co-locating solar panels and crops or vegetation also has significant benefits for land-owners. Land-owners would be able to further diversify and enter new markets by installing high-value, shade resistant crops underneath the solar panels, such as leafy greens, herbs, beans, and root vegetables. This gives land-owners the ability to maintain crop production during solar generation and creates the potential to extend growing seasons for certain crops.
It's a fact. Solar and pollinators are great partners!