Commercial Beekeeping Goes Solar
We've been so focused on solar and energy markets lately, we thought it made sense to look at the fun side of solar for a change. Here's a story in National Geographic about how commercial solar is helping commercial beekeeping thrive:
The SolarWise garden in Ramsey, Minnesota, doesn't look especially cutting edge as solar farms go. But in April, it quietly achieved a milestone: It became the first U.S. solar facility to host commercial beekeeping. The apiary is part of an effort to rethink how land for clean energy can be used to supply more than just kilowatts.
Instead of the gravel or turf grass that typically underlies a solar array, the one in Ramsey has low-growing, pollinator-friendly plants and 15 hives installed by Bolton Bees, a local honey producer about 35 miles away in St. Paul. Two other solar apiaries followed in the state, with more on the way.
The rise of solar energy in the United States coincides with a growing awareness that pollinators, which help grow three-quarters of the world's food crops, are in trouble. American produce ranging from almonds to blueberries depends heavily on this winged workforce. But in the U.S., beekeepers lost more than 40 percent of their colonies in 2016 due to a variety of factors.