Shade Under Solar Panels Increases and Delays Floral Bloom

A study by Oregon State University researchers found that shade provided by solar panels increased the abundance of flowers under the panels and delayed the timing of their bloom, both findings that could aid the agricultural community. The researchers collected data from 48 species of plants and 65 different insect species, in full-sun, partial shade, and full shade situations. The study, believed to be the first that looked at the impact of solar panels on flowering plants and insects, has important implications for solar developers who manage the land under solar panels, as well as agriculture and pollinator health advocates who are seeking land for pollinator habitat restoration. The researchers explained that extending bloom times is important for pollinating insects because it provides them food later in the season. The findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports.