Gov. Whitmer announces decision to bolster solar energy and protect pollinators on Michigan farmlands

LANSING - The Whitmer Administration announced an executive decision today that farmland sites under Public Act 116 of Michigan’s Farmland and Open Space Program can now host solar arrays and remain enrolled in the program. Currently, there are approximately 3.3 million acres of farmland under PA 116. Notably, the PA 116 sites that opt to add solar under this decision must also meet pollinator habitat standards as determined by the Michigan Pollinator Habitat Planning Scorecard for Solar Sites, a tool designed by researchers at Michigan State University. Solar energy is an important and growing clean, renewable resource in Michigan. Michigan Environmental Council released the following statement in support:

“This executive decision is an all around win for Michigan,” said Michigan Environmental Council Agricultural Policy Director Tom Zimnicki. “Not only does this action ensure Michigan residents will continue to benefit from more clean, affordable solar energy, but it also importantly protects pollinators, which are vital to the health of our state’s ecosystems and our agriculture industry. Increased threats to pollinators and recent declines in their populations jeopardizes food production for some of our favorite Michigan crops like apple, blueberry, and cherry. The pollinator habitat requirement of this executive decision is an important step for ensuring food production, and hopefully serves as a model to other states for how renewable energy, pollinator habitat, and agriculture can coexist for the betterment of everyone.”

Photo of pollinator-friendly solar farm, courtesy of Engie.

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