Proper planning for the use of land within a solar array is critical to a successful project. Options exist from very low maintenance management of ground cover to more intensive agricultural production systems. Even with low maintenance systems, pre-planning has numerous benefits for the landowner, project operator and environment. Benefits can include protecting the soil, improved pollinator habitat and livestock (primarily sheep) grazing performance and reduced maintenance cost for the solar operator.
In observing recent installations of solar arrays, the pre-construction field conditions vary greatly. It is apparent that planning for desired vegetative cover post-construction needs to start when the site is selected and implemented in conjunction with the construction of the solar array. This article will cover considerations for the successful establishment and maintenance of perennial ground cover options. The information is presented from the perspective of the Northeastern United States but may have applicability to other regions.