Land Management & Conservation Practices Provide Options for Ag and Solar Integration - Pollinator Habitat in Solar Energy Sites

March 7, 2022

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This program includes three presentations describing each practice and how it can be implemented in Michigan.

  • Pollinator Habitat in Solar Energy Sites
  • Conservation Cover in Solar Energy Sites
  • Agrivoltaics - the Future of Farming?

'Dual use' is the integration of solar modules in an agricultural system in a way that enhances?a?productive, multifunctional landscape. This low-impact?energy system employs one or more of the following land management and conservation practices throughout the project site:

  • Pollinator Habitat: Solar sites designed to provide habitat for pollinating insects using the Michigan Pollinator Habitat Planning Scorecard for Solar Sites.
  • Conservation Cover: Solar sites designed in consultation with conservation organizations that focus on restoring native plants, grasses, and prairie with the aim of protecting specific species (e.g. bird habitat) or providing specific ecosystem services (e.g. carbon sequestration, soil health).
  • Agrivoltaics: Solar sites that combine raising crops for food,fiber, or fuel within the project area to maximize land use.


Video Transcript

 - Okay, my name is Charles Gould and I'm with Michigan State University Extension. I'm housed in Ottawa County, but have responsibility for working with farmers across the state of Michigan on renewable energy and energy conservation. I'm gonna talk today about pollinator habitat and solar systems, a strategy for Michigan energy systems. And then on Thursday, I will be talking about agrivoltaics, which is growing food, fiber, and fuel under and around solar energy systems. Okay, so as I mentioned earlier, I'm going solo here. So as long as we don't have technical issues and as long as I can keep admitting people in without losing too much of the flow here, I think we're gonna be just fine. Okay. So here's where I wanna start my presentation here. We just recently, a team of us made up of Michigan State University Extension educators and other specialists from the University of Michigan and from Michigan State University, put together this "Planning and Zoning for Solar Energy Systems." And the content that I'm going to be sharing with you today really comes in large part out of this. So the intent here for this guide was to help Michigan communities meet the challenge of becoming solar-ready by addressing solar energy systems within their planning policies and zoning regulations. So we recognize that there's a lot of solar energy systems going in in townships in particular that are struggling to understand how to put these solar systems in their zoning ordinances, and so this guide was written to help provide that kind of assistance. So the Community Master Plan really is where this all starts. So the master plan should contain an explanation of how solar energy systems fit into the unique landscapes and characteristics of the jurisdiction. So if the master plan doesn't include solar energy systems, then that's where you start first. It's gotta start there. And the thing about it is is solar energy systems can help communities reach community goals. Like if resiliency is an important issue or important concern, if economic development is a goal, farmland preservation, climate action, you can put a lot of things in the master plan that can facilitate solar development and help the community achieve its goals. Once the master plan is put together, then, I think I actually skipped a slide here. Nope, I didn't. Sorry about this. This is a little bit more challenging than I thought it would be doing this solo. So I apologize for that. So the integration of a solar energy system into an agricultural system is what we call dual use. And dual use simply means that the ground that that solar project sits on does more than just grow the racking that holds the solar modules up. We wanna make it productive. We wanna do something that really is gonna make that land valuable and increase its value. And so in the guidebook that I mentioned earlier, we put forth four concepts. These are land management and conservation practices that we think can add value to a solar energy system. So there are conservation cover, agrivoltaics, grazing and forage, and pollinator habitat. So I'm gonna cover conservation cover, agrivoltaics, and grazing and forage just briefly, and then do a deep dive into pollinator habitat as it relates to solar energy systems. So just give you an overview of what conservation cover, agrivoltaics, and grazing forage, grazing and forage really is. So conservation cover really focuses on specific purposes. You're trying to provide specific services. I use the example here of an Iowa prairie strip. Prairie strips can be utilized in a solar energy system to protect specific species or provide specific ecosystem services. Now there's other things that could be used other than the prairie strip, but that's one thing to consider. And I'll go into a greater explanation tomorrow when we talk about conservation cover in greater detail. But so the protecting specific species might be, you might target a bird habitat, or you might target pollinating insect preservation. Ecosystem services, carbon sequestration is a huge one, and soil health is another one. So if you choose to use this type of management practice, that's the design that you're trying to make happen. Agrivoltaics. Agrivoltaics really, as I mentioned, is raising food, fiber, and fuel within the project area. And there are some really, really cool studies that are coming out across the globe on the efficacy of growing food under solar arrays. And you can see this graphic here where shaded plants need less water and they cool the back of solar panels. I don't know if you've thought about that or not. You maximize the production of electricity from a solar module by keeping it cool. So if you were to look at solar production when the temperatures are cooler versus when they're really hot, you'll see that solar modules are much more effective when the temperatures are cool versus when they're hot. And so the shaded plants, we've had some droughts here over the last decade in particular, so these shaded plants need less water to grow. And then as I mentioned, the solar panels capture more energy from the sun. - [Woman] Hi, (indistinct) are you ready? - [Charles] So here's an example. This comes from Japan and this is just one of many examples. There's a lot of variations of agrivoltaics. But what this represents here is blueberries. Now I'm housed in Ottawa County and we grow a lot of blueberries in Ottawa County. So if you were to take this concept here of growing blueberries underneath solar arrays, this could be something that could be examined as a viable option for our blueberry growers here in Ottawa County. Okay. Someone's talking on the phone, could you please mute? Thank you. So grazing and forage production really focuses on the grazing animal and how you support the forages to maximize the growth and yield of meat that comes off of the site here. So the way that this fits into a solar energy system is that the livestock are used to keep the forages that are growing there at a level where they're not encroaching on and shading out at least the bottom row of the solar arrays. And this is a concept that really, really gets me fired up. And I wanted to show you this picture here. We have an example of this, Herbruck Poultry in Ionia County at their organic poultry facility. They have a 11-acre site there, and they are grazing, well, it's a 10-acre site, and they have 11 head of use that they've put out there. And we had a pasture walk here this last year in August. And what you see here, this vertical picture here, I came out six weeks before I took this picture, and there was lamb's quarter that was over my waist, and the sheep came in and just mowed it down. What they do is they nibble off the leaves, and they leave the stems, and then they go lay on the stems. And you can see here that they did a really nice job of mowing the lamb's quarter. And then there was some grass pieces in there too. And you can see that they did a nice job of mowing the vegetation down. So we're actually working on a concept, or not a concept, but a project here in Ottawa County, where we're attempting to take a 17-acre site and put sheep on it. This is one of Consumers Energy projects, one of their community solar projects just south of the Grand Valley State University campus. And we're excited to be able to get sheep on there and see how that works. Now, let's move into the pollinator habitat. And I wanna start with PA 116, and what PA 116 really is is this is a law that says farmers can put their land into an agreement with the state, and there's no development on that land for a minimum of 10 years. So it's not developed, it's not developed in a nonagricultural use. In return for doing that, the landowner is entitled to tax benefits. And you can go to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development website. You can get more information if you want to. But PA 116 was amended to allow solar projects on land that was enrolled in PA 116. So there's some parameters though. There's some stipulations that the amendment states. So the first one is that the site has to meet at least, has to score at least 76 on the Michigan Pollinator Habitat Planning Scorecard for Solar Sites. And I'll talk about that here in just a minute, what that score means, and what the scorecard is. But it has to score at least a minimum of 76. So the pollinator habitat has got to allow for replanting when the usable life of that pollinator habitat expires. That has to be factored into the planting process. So the establishment and the maintenance of the pollinator habitat is the responsibility of the solar project company, whoever is managing the land at the time who claims ownership for it. And then any portion of the site that's not included in the pollinator habitat has to be put in in such a way that it meets the Natural Resources Conservation Service Standard 327. All right, so what does the score 76 mean? So there's nine different components that make up that score of 76. So they range anywhere from site planning to habitat site preparation to the seasons, seasons where there's at least three blooming forbs present. So this is really a tool that's intended to be used for a planning tool. It's not intended to be a maintenance tool. And so as you go through and you're looking at your site here and you're trying to plan, the way that it's used is you score yourself in each of those nine boxes based on what you want to accomplish on that site. And so when you tally the points together, it's gotta be 76 or more. And what we'd really like to see is a score of 90 or over or 90 plus, because that's the exceptional habitat that really can support a stable pollinator population. And so the thing about pollinator habitat establishment is that it takes some time. You've gotta really think about this. And you just can't go out and slap some seed on the ground. So the quality of establishment is really gonna depend on your soil preparation. Most forbs are not planted very deep. So they just broadcast or very shallow incorporation. If they're planted too deep, they don't come up. If they're not planted deep enough, there's not enough soil to surface contact that allows for germination. So taking soil tests is a good example of how you prepare to have a high quality pollinator habitat. Every site is gonna be site-specific. You can't establish pollinator habitat in Ottawa County and think that it's going to work over in Washtenaw County. You have different soil types, you have even different zones, growing zones. There's just management styles. There's gonna be a lot of different factors here. So each one is site-specific. So remember that I said that it takes a while for these type of plants to get established. So it's just kind of a trite saying that, so, you're one that sleeps, you're two that creeps, you're three that leaps. And so we want to make sure that the public understands that if we're gonna do pollinator habitat, it's probably gonna look ugly for the first couple years. And so we wanna make sure that the expectation there for a pollinator habitat is realistic, and we're not expecting a year three in year one. If we've done our site preparation right, year three is gonna knock everybody's socks off. It's gonna be phenomenal. It's gonna look beautiful. And the PR that's gonna come out of that if it's done right and everything has been planned correctly, year three PR is gonna be phenomenal for that solar site. So the missing piece right now is what to do with maintenance. How do we take these great sites that we're putting in and how do we make sure that they stay great sites? Right now that's kind of the weak link. And that's something that Michigan State University Extension is working on. I think the planning tool that we have, the scorecard is really good and can be used to put in really good pollinator habitat. But beyond that, beyond that year three, that's where the maintenance kicks in, and that's where I think the weak link is. And we're actually working on that, trying to put together some materials that will help site managers to make sure that that year three pollinator habitat is maintained all the way through year 25 or however long the lease agreement is for that piece of ground. So I did wanna talk about this, because there's also a growing body of research that shows there's some synergistic, there's synergism between pollinator habitat and crops that require pollinated insects to set fruit. So a solar project can go in next to a blueberry field or an apple orchard or a cucumber field and be of great benefit to that farmer. So really what we're trying to do here is enhance the additional nectar and pollen sources for the bee community. A bee will forage up to two miles, but most beekeepers like to keep that food within a mile. So if a solar site goes in to a location where within a mile's radius, there's other crops that will provide pollen and nectar, then that's an ideal site. Wildflower plantings have been shown to be an effective practice for benefiting pollination resulting in increased crop production. And down the bottom here, I have a couple of sites references that you can go to for additional information. I think I actually have the link in the slide, in a following slide. So there's a lot of emphasis on wild bee pollination services. And if you're going down this road of putting in a pollinator habitat to augment pollinating crops, the thing that you wanna consider is that wild bee pollination service may be most effective on small farms, but large farms are gonna need that supplemental, they'll need supplemental hives to augment what wild bees are doing. So that's another reason here for having solar sites with pollinator habitat. So most of us are familiar with this, that crops that aren't pollinated are gonna look, they're not gonna look right. You'll have lower yields, those kinds of things. So it's really, really critical that we support the development of or the, that we support pollinating insects in any way that we can. And this last bullet point I think is one that, that I think is really important and something to consider. And this has more to do with farmers who have crop land. This study here, "Pollination in the Agricultural Landscape," points out that to remain economically sustainable, 3% of the land needs to be planted or maintained as bee forage. I think that's an important thing to think about as we look at solar projects that wanna put pollinator habitat on them. Okay, so what are some reasons here? Well, you can see this is really an awesome graphic, I think because you have like cornflowers here, you can see the roots, how deep the roots go, you've got various grasses. This is like gamagrass, bluestem, Indian grass, those kinds of things. And the real take home message that I want you to see out of this graphic is look at the root mass for turfgrass as compared to the root mass for native grasses and forbs. So if we're concerned about holding soil in place, if we're concerned about the runoff from that solar site, we're not gonna put turfgrass in. We're gonna make sure that there's native grasses and forbs there that can hold that soil in place. It's gonna slow the flow of water down and allow that water to infiltrate into the groundwater. I think one of the best things that we could do in the state of Michigan is that we could put solar projects where we need to have groundwater recharge areas. Now, as I mentioned, I lived here in Ottawa County, and what we're finding is that we have to go deeper and deeper for groundwater. And if I remember correctly, a lot of our groundwater comes from aquifers that start in like Isabella County. So if we could put solar sites in Isabella County where we slow the flow of water and we allow that surface water to go down and recharge those aquifers, then I think there's some real societal benefits here that justify having solar arrays in Michigan. So solar, excuse me, a pollinator habitat is gonna stem the decline of pollinators. We know that we are losing these insects and they're just absolutely critical to our food supply. Pollinator habitat is gonna provide nesting and feeding habitat, so it will keep the existing populations, so it will support those populations at a healthy level. Gonna contribute to local biodiversity. I was reading a research report that came out here just recently that said that insects that feed on aphids and other agricultural crop pests will come into these sites, this pollinator habitat, and they will over winter, it becomes part of their life cycle, and then they'll go back out into the crops and look for the insects that they feed on. And so there's some nice, some nice biodiversity benefits that come from pollinator habitat. So I think we've talked about the improving infiltration and reducing compaction. We've talked about improved crop yields. But this last point here that by encouraging native pollinators then in some instances, farmers can cut down on the rental cost for honeybee colonies. So I wanted to share this with you. This is a study that just, I believe that it was just released, because I just found out about it here, the Mount Morris Agrivoltaic Study Results. I think there's some implications here that again help us justify pollinator habitat. So this particular study took place in New York, a thousand acres of ground-mounted solar arrays on leased and private land. So I wanna just extract a couple of points here. So they said that an ideal apiary site is accessible, the vegetation at the landscape is varied, that the solar site offers the beekeeper safety and privacy, the physical site characteristics are amenable to the beekeeper getting to the site, for example, there's roads or a road that they can, that a beekeeper can access and get to his colonies easily, protection from agrichemicals, and then the quality of relationship with the property owner. So all of these things factored into an ideal apiary site. And so if you think of a solar project, all of those things are factors that can come into play in a solar site. So in terms of the economics, and I'm not gonna share the assumptions with you, there's a whole bunch of assumptions in there, and you can go read them for yourself, but I'm hoping just to provide enough information that you get a sense of what potentially can happen. - [Becky] Charles? - Yes. - I think you can hit Mute All as a moderator. - [Charles] Okay, I'm going to. - [Becky] If you wanna look for it for one second, I think you can go into your Participants, and I think there's a Mute All option, 'cause Roger's iPad and mom's iPhone seem to not be muted. - [Charles] Okay. I was trying to speak and somebody has their mic open. - [Becky] Did you see something in there? - [Charles] There we go. Okay, got it. Thank you, Becky, appreciate it. Sorry about that to everybody. That's one of the disadvantages of teaching this way and it's extremely distracting. So the economic analysis, they looked at beekeeping as part of this project and they divided up the, they used enterprise. Let's put it this way, they used enterprises from small and medium and large colonies. And you can see that for a small apiary, there were 10 colonies, medium 30, and large 60. So just looking at the net income after depreciation, the large apiary had the highest total net income, but the small apiary had the higher profit per colony and per pound. Again you can see the numbers right there. Now let's do a little deeper dive into this. So if we look at the return to equity, their small apiary took a hit. So the profit, what this is telling us is that the profit was not sufficient to cover the labor involved. The medium apiary had 3%, and the large apiary had 14%. So that's your operating gross profit. So what that meant is for every dollar of gross revenue, there was a loss of 16 cents. For a medium apiary, there was three cents, and for a large apiary, there's 14 cents. So that's not really a whole lot of profit and neither is really 14, but what 14 suggests is that that's a stable income at 14%. That's sufficient to go the distance. If there's 25-year lease agreement, a 14% return on investment would, or 14% gross profit would be sufficient for a beekeeper to enter into agreement and go the distance. So let's look at one more, another way to look at this. So 0% is the breakeven, and what this chart tells us here, this table tells us is that for a small apiary to breakeven, they need to get a yield of 129 pounds per colony versus a large apiary which would need 51 pounds of honey in order to breakeven. And if you look at a 10% profit margin, the numbers go up, but you'll notice that for a large apiary, the difference is not that great, six pounds. So what this suggests to me is we have in Michigan, there's some very large solar projects going in. And if we were to look at putting pollinator habitat on those large solar sites, and we have the correct amount of beekeepers that are willing to come in and set up shops, so to speak, there are some opportunities here for a sustainable business in harvesting the honey and the honeycomb in these large solar projects. All right, so some keys to implementing dual use practices. Really wanna emphasize this one. It takes planning. These things are not gonna happen by accident. That's one of the things I really appreciated with Consumers Energy. I have been asked to work with them in putting in a sheep grazing project up in Saginaw County. They have a site up there but there's been no pilings put in, no racking system has been set up. They've taken soil tests of the ground there. And so we're starting to lay the groundwork on a grazing system before the first piling is put in. And that's really the point that needs to be made here. It doesn't matter whether it's grazing, it doesn't matter whether it's pollinator habitat or conservation cover or agrivoltaics. It's that planning upfront that has to happen, because, I mean we can do it after the solar arrays are put in, but it's really not the ideal situation. So the planning is really critical upfront. The conversation and clear communication of expectations and outcomes really sets you up to have a successful solar project, a successful long-term solar project with all the parties that are involved. And that's the direction that we're trying to move in is if we could establish relationships upfront, if we could establish partnerships upfront, and people can see what the end game is and what we want to accomplish, then I think that's gonna go a long way toward keeping agriculture where agriculture is. It's gonna go a long way toward resolving and, well, resolving community conflict over solar projects. It's gonna engage more people in the decision-making process. And there's just so many advantages here of planning this upfront. And I guess I might also add that this planning has to, jumping back to the master plan, the master plan has to allow this planning to take place. It has to be clear on the goals of the community so that the communication and the planning supports the goals of that master plan. And if everything is working together, we're gonna have sites that are gonna generate electricity, they're gonna support agriculture, and they're gonna have community support. So here are the websites for some of the references that I have shared with you. One of the most common questions I'm getting now is, if I wanna learn about native plants in Michigan, where do I go? Well, MSU has a Native Plants and Ecosystem Services website. And you can go and you can look at plants, and it's a tool that can help you decide on the type of plants that you want in a solar project. The Michigan Pollinator Initiative is one of the best websites there is. Just a ton of information there that could help educate you on pollinator habitat establishment, and put you in contact with people who are consultants who can help you put in pollinator habitat. The Planning and Zoning Guide that I mentioned at the very beginning is found here, PA 116, information there. I wanna just bring your attention to the American Solar Grazing Association, because there's some cross-pollination, to use this term, between grazing and pollinator habitat. Ernst Seed has come out with a seed mix called Fuzz & Buzz, and its intent is to provide forage for sheep, but also to have forbs in there that will provide pollinating opportunities for insects that need it. And then of course the Mount Morris Study. So in conclusion, dual use options are dictated by a community's master plan. Dual use practices cover those four concepts there. Pollinator habitat can provide economic, social, and environmental benefits, but it involves intentional planning. And something that I didn't emphasize, but I wanna point out right now, I mean let's be honest, if we're gonna put pollinator habitat in, let's do it and do it the right way. Let's not say, let's not put it in and do a crappy job. Let's not bee-wash this. Let's make sure that it's really pollinator habitat. I wanna acknowledge the sponsors for MI AG Energy to Grow With. And here's my contact information. So I'm gonna go to the, okay, all right. Looks like most everybody had to do with, (laughs) with all the noise. So I think what I'm gonna do, it doesn't. Okay, just scrolling down through the ideas or the questions. Okay, where could you purchase appropriate seed mixes for 30 plus acres? So that's Sandy's question. What I would suggest to you right now is I would suggest that you go to the Michigan Pollinator Initiative, and you click on Large Pollinator Habitat. There's a tile there on that website, Large Pollinator Habitat. And then when you click on that, there'll be a green box right in the middle of that. It has a spreadsheet that you can download and it has a list of seed, companies that provide seed, and consultants and contractors. That's where I would start first. The other thing that I would say is we have submitted a grant, we meaning myself and some of my Extension colleagues. We've submitted a grant to look at different seed mixers. We recognize that there's not a lot of seed mixers out there that are commercially available. And the ones that are, we believe that we can develop seed mixes that are more effective and are cheaper on a per acre basis. And so if this project is funded, and we'll know in about six weeks whether it's funded or not. If it's funded, then we're gonna do this project and we'll come out with seed mixes that are Michigan-specific for both small sites and large sites. Okay. I see Mr. Myers' comment, and you are absolutely right, and I won't be going solo tomorrow. Luke points out that he has purchased pollinator blends from Ducks Unlimited. That is good to know. Pheasants Forever. Okay, Erica asked, does the guide include suggestions for urban use? Yes, it does. And I would just really encourage everyone to go and download that. It is a tremendously helpful resource. How do you measure success of an installed site? This is from Julie. How do you identify the insects that are present? All right, so how do you measure success of an installed site? I think that is a question, to be honest with you, that I don't know. My first thought is that there's, some of you may be familiar with the Xerces Society. Some of you may be familiar with Bee & Butterfly. That's a nonprofit group. They may have information on that as well. And identifying the insects that are present. There's some really good websites. MSU has a website, I can't recall it right off the top of my head, but with pictures that you can use to identify insects. You can also send insects, you can send pictures of insects into the Master Gardener Program, and they will identify what it is and get back with you. Are there any examples of large scale 10 to 20-acre raised solar arrays in Michigan? No, there's not. There are examples of raised solar arrays, but they're not of that size and scale. Thank you, Jennifer. I appreciate that. Okay, a lot of beekeepers on. And I would really, really welcome all the beekeepers on to give me a call. I'd like to talk with you. Okay. All right, so Roger, your question is that you've been approached by a solar company to lease ground, but there's nothing about ground cover. That's a red flag in my book. I would not do business with them. I don't know how many solar developers we've got on now on this call, but that's a red flag. I wouldn't do business with them. (laughs) Okay, Juliet, duly noted about your seed mix. Sure will. That will be something that we'll add into our proposal. Anthony asks, can you say more about why there are no large scale raised solar project? Is it not cost effective? So that is, I don't think it's the fact that it's, okay, some solar companies will tell you that it's not cost effective, but there has been studies now that are coming out that say that is not true. It all has to do with the planning upfront and how the site is developed. And there's increasing efficiencies in solar development, and these efficiencies are bringing the price down. And so we are seeing more projects go in with solar arrays that are raised up above the ground. And I think the second part of the answer is that there are solar companies that are more willing to do that than other solar companies. There are solar companies out there that will put in taller solar arrays, and there are solar companies that wanna get as low as they can. And the ones that wanna go high, it's not really about economics. As I have talked with them, it's more about wanting to ensure that some kind of dual use concept is, dual use practice is implemented. And I've told solar developers this, and I'll say it again, that if you're gonna go into rural Michigan and you're gonna put solar projects in, you gotta have an ag component to it. And if that means that you raise your solar arrays up higher, and you want that solar, then that's what you're gonna have to do if, otherwise, I just don't think you're gonna go into rural Michigan. Sam asked, don't a lot of the native plants require full sun though? How can they thrive under panels? Sam, that is why we have the native plant website, and that's why we look at what will grow under shade and partial shade and full sun. And those are the types of plants that we wanna get, we want to plant in Michigan. So the information is out there, and it's certainly not an ignorant question. It's just part of the planning process, and understanding what will grow under solar arrays and what won't. The interesting thing about it is, and I'll give you a kind of a teaser about my agrivoltaic presentation is that growing lettuce, for example, under a solar array and partial shade. They compensate for that by expanding the leaf area so they can take in more sunlight. And it doesn't hurt the quality of the lettuce. None of that is impacted. Physiologically the plant adapts to the partial sunlight. Okay. Gavin, regarding PA 116, what is the timeline for utilizing the scorecard? Is it before the construction of the project, which seems it would require a projection of what pollinator habitat would be placed on the site? Yeah, so it's a planning tool. So it's part of the decision-making process upfront. Absolutely. Okay, I just went through all the questions here and we've got five minutes left. I imagine if you want to, either type another one in the chat box or unmute yourself and ask your question. I'll take it both ways. I apologize for the distraction, folks. (laughs) I still hope it's been a value to you. - [Samantha] Would it be possible for a farmer to put in like a solar panel site on some of their land in a way that would still offset the value of not growing crops on it? - [Charles] So we are looking into that question, and I'll give you an example here. I have been corresponding with a couple of the planning and zoning board members in a township in Sanilac County. And they've developed a solo ordinance where they have 500 feet buffer strips or setback distance from the outside fence to where the solar project is. And I asked Al, what the heck are you guys thinking? It was perfectly logical to him because that 500 feet allows them to come in and use modern farming equipment to plant and harvest. And so they want the solar, they recognize the value there, but they deliberately put the setback, or not setback, the, yeah, the setback distance from the outside fence to the fence surrounding the solar arrays in a way that they could still farm. So, Samantha, a lot of crops are gonna be your vegetable and fruit crops that are gonna grow under or can take that partial shade. Those crops are gonna be on the outside of the solar arrays. We're gonna have beehives there. Those kinds of things. The one exception is the University of Vermont has been doing a lot of research on growing saffron. And saffron is a spice that is in huge demand across the globe. A gram of saffron on the market today is something like, I don't know, 1200 bucks. And saffron will grow wonderfully in a solar array. So that is one thing that we're looking at at Michigan State University is how we could take some of these solar projects and grow saffron. The University of Vermont in their research studies have been very successful in growing saffron. So it's a cold climate just like we are. And we have better soils than Vermont does anyway. So we think that saffron is something that we could grow. We just need growers that'd be willing to do it and a market for it. The markets are there, but we need to get growers and markets connected. Okay. Okay, all right, so let's see, Jennifer, you asked the question, will solar arrays increase ambient temperature in any significant way? And the answer to that is emphatically no. And the reason for that is is the whole purpose of a solar array is to absorb solar energy. Any energy that escapes is an inefficiency in those little solar cells. So they're designed in such a way that they capture as much of that solar energy that comes. Now you said ambient temperature, so, yes, there is heat that's given off, but it's not enough, it's not significant enough that it's gonna affect temperatures on a large area. Where its impact is gonna be is in the efficiency of that solar array or that very solar cell that makes up the modules to create electricity. Okay, Alan, another possibility for pollinator habitat is using areas under power lines where the right of way belongs to power companies. Yeah, and, well, there's actually a lot of talk about that. Power companies are reluctant to do that. I think there's some kind of, I think there's a law that says that the right of ways have to be maintained and kept clearer vegetation. That's what I seem to remember and I hope I'm correct on that. And so power companies haven't really been very eager to, I mean they'll listen, but it's not something that they're entertaining seriously. How does a large solar array affect wind currents and speeds in the field? And this is from Lily. I don't know the answer to that to be honest with you. Solar arrays are designed to withstand like hurricane force winds. When they're designed, they're installed in such a way that large wind is not gonna affect them. It's not gonna blow them over. Maybe there's some impact there, but I don't know to be honest with you.