Solar power, in particular solar farm are taking the world by storm.
By 2030, an estimated 2 million acres of land will be devoted to generating solar energy.
And many of those could provide a critical service in increasing pollinator habitat.
Why is that?
Well, research has found that pollinator plants do very well under the partial or full shade of a solar panel.
These plots have more diversity and can prolong the blooming season, providing insects food for a longer time.
However, not all plants do as well in shady spots.
But don’t worry— we’ve done the hard part for you.
We’ve put together a list of the five best pollinator plants to grow under solar panels.
The Best Pollinator Plants for Partial Shade
Most solar farms get sun beneath the solar panels in the early morning or late evening hours.
But if you have panels that face a single direction, you may get more than three hours of sunlight a day.
This is considered partial shade, and many pollinator plants do great under these conditions.
1. Bee Balm
How can you not choose a plant that has the word “bee” in the name as your number-one choice?
Bee balm grows up to about 4 feet tall.
It tops the list of best pollinator plants because it can survive in a variety of conditions and is drought-tolerant, making it a great choice in arid regions.
2. Butterfly Weed
Another great plant to grow under solar panels is the butterfly weed.
This plant attracts — you guessed it — butterflies, but hummingbirds like it, too.
You’ll be doing an excellent service to the monarchs in growing this plant (their favorite food source).
Butterfly weed is also resistant to drought conditions and grows up to 3 feet tall.
Rounding out our list of the best pollinator plants for partial shade is the North American native penstemon.
Several different species range in height from six inches up to eight feet.
Just keep in mind that you want a variety that doesn’t get too tall.
Penstemon is tolerant to a wide range of conditions, but it should be planted in areas with more sunlight.
It attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
The Best Choices for Full Shade
If you have tilting panels or a farm in an area that gets a lot of cloud cover, you may need to look for plants that do well in full shade.
Here are two of the best pollinator plants for these conditions.
Columbines grow well in partial to full shade.
They can grow up to 3 feet tall and come in a variety of colors.
Choose the blue-flowered plants if you want to attract bees and bumblebees.
Hummingbirds prefer the red ones.
2. White Wood Asters
This hardy flowering plant is drought-resistant, low maintenance, and grows up to 3 feet tall.
It blooms in late summer to fall, so it helps prolong bees’ and butterflies’ access to food.
Find Solar Panels to Support the Best Pollinator Plants
By planting the best pollinator plants for shade or partial shade, you get the best of two worlds.
Now, if you’d like some guidance on finding the right solar solution for you, we at Unbound Solar® are here to help.
Reach out today!