Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: New York
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

New York Project

National Pollinator-Solar Energy Monitoring and Research Network

January 2023 - December 2027


Participating Agencies

  • Department of Energy

Pollinators are declining globally, and land-use change from solar energy development may lead to reduction of pollinator habitat. On the other hand, pollinator habitat may be maintained and created as part of the process of solar energy development. While pollinator-friendly solar presents potential for co-location of pollinator habitat and solar production, our understanding of its ecological definition and operational applications is severely limited. Research is needed to provide the theoretical underpinnings and ecological applications of pollinator-friendly solar for meaningful uptake to occur at large-scale, operational solar facilities globally. Further, there is a need to increase the speed at which understanding of pollinator-solar interactions is generated, given the taxonomic bottleneck through which species identifications are derived. With funding from the Department of Energy, I am leading a large research team (USGS, Cornell University, USDA, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Oregon State University, Argonne National Laboratory, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, GRID Alternatives, multiple energy companies, and others) to elucidate pollinator-solar interactions from local to landscape levels, using both pollinator eDNA and conventional sampling methods at solar facilities across the country. Our research will define what pollinator friendly solar is, how to do it, and how to monitor it in the United States, with an eye towards promoting pollinator conservation broadly.