The Buzz About Solar-Based Beekeeping™
Over the last decade solar energy development has exploded across the US. In Minnesota alone, 4,000 acres of ground based solar arrays have been built, primarily on land previously used for agricultural production. While there is widespread support for energy independence afforded by renewable sources like solar, there is significant resistance from local residents to the installation of the traditional gravel and steel covered arrays in their own communities.
As solar renewable energy has been bursting onto the scene, pollinators have been facing an epic crisis. Honeybees and other pollinator populations are declining at an alarming rate around the world. The use of systematic agricultural pesticides and poor nutrition caused by shrinking native habitats are contributing to weakened immune systems and disease transmission among bee populations.
Working with solar energy developers, Bare Honey beekeepers are helping to develop pollinator oases and collecting SolarGrown Honey™ from hives placed upon solar arrays. These solar arrays have been planted with flowering habitat that has been scientifically designed to provide a regenerative refuge for pollinators. These innovative solar arrays are reclaiming native habitat, previously lost to industrialized agriculture.
While the photovoltaic panels are harvesting clean energy to feed our growing demand for energy, the plants surrounding them are gathering that same solar energy to feed honeybees and native pollinators. Innovative multi-use of the land like this is creating stacking environmental benefits, coining a new term in the industry called "argi-voltaics". We envision a future where acres of land covered with photovoltaic arrays are also being used for sheep grazing and honey production, while the land surrounding these arrays is filled with farms of pollinator-dependent crops. The benefit of these arrays is not limited to the production of honey, the apple orchards, strawberry, blueberry, pumpkin, squash, and melon farms that surround these solar farms will also benefit from the abundance of pollinators naturally present.
With 25-year life spans, these pollinator-friendly solar farms are essentially becoming private habitat reserves for the pollinators who are desperately in need of them. Solar Based Beekeeping™ is giving back to the environment through the pollination of plots of pollinator habitat. Working with the non-profit Fresh Energy, and other solar energy developers, we are expanding the practice of planting flowering habitat on their solar arrays. Help us make this an industry standard! Together, we are creating mutually beneficial native habitat preservation for wildlife and renewable energy production. Help support a sweeter, brighter future for generations with your purchase of solar grown honey.
Learn more about pollinator-friendly solar at: Bees Love Solar