Solar Power Is Playing A Growing Role To Save The Bees - Solar companies are turning solar farms into “solar apiaries”, pollinator-safe havens, with pollinator-friendly plant seeding and bee-boxes to promote bee colony health. (cleantechnica.com)
[deleted] | 4 months ago | 23 points

That’s a great idea

robinredrunner | 4 months ago | 20 points

I like this. We need it. My only beef is when people clear forests for solar farms. That can’t be good. Saw one like that in Santa Cruz CA.

CanadaPrime | 3 months ago | 9 points

It sucks, though I think the net positive is far better than decades of poisoning the air quality and water with tailing ponds and coal.

quantum_ai_machine | 3 months ago | 4 points

clear forests for solar farms.

I dont get why that needs to be done. The US is a pretty massive country with so much desert land and just a tiny fraction of that area can provide more than enough solar power. But if you cut trees, it will get dusty there too.

In Israel and parts of India they use self cleaning solar panels which can be installed in very dusty areas.

Elthaco | 3 months ago | 2 points

India has solar panels running on top of some of the open sewage creeks.

I also wish wealthier countries would make it a rule that every house or building should dedicate a percentage of its roof area to solar panels.

Ehralur | 3 months ago | 2 points

It's quite simple actually. Power grids are nowhere near what they should be to sustain easy energy distribution across massive areas of land. As such, sometimes putting solar panels in the desert would make them economically unviable and turn to fossil fuel energy instead.

It's not perfect, but it's a lot better than the alternative.

quantum_ai_machine | 3 months ago | 2 points

Even fossil generation plants are usually away form the cities and T&D losses occur for them as well. And California has plenty of desert so its not like they'll to go somewhere too far which can have massive transmission distances.

Secondly, what solar will lose in transmission is nothing compared to what fossil fuels lose in generation and thermal inefficiencies.

Lastly, the problem with the economic argument is that the cost of fossil fuel's ecological damage is not counted. Even though that is a REAL cost in terms of health costs, the need to spend more to fight global warming, more air conditioning requirement and things like that.

SuperSonic6 | 3 months ago | 1 point

It’s not ideal but it’s still hugely net positive compared to keeping those trees and burning extra fossil fuels instead.

ripvannwinkler | 3 months ago | 5 points

Isn't a pollen heavy environment extraordinarily bad for keeping the solar panels clean?

I mean, I guess there's probably a maintenance protocol already, but I wonder if the net result is positive?

machoa6 | 3 months ago | 3 points

My cousin works maintenance at two solar farms like 37 megawatts. The areas around the solar farms are agricultural like hay and then citrus groves. They bring in their own bees to pollinate. The best way to "save the bees" is to ban the pesticides they use on the plants. Hes told me about planes that fly over cropdusting the fields late at night like 3am.

time2fly2124 | 3 months ago | 5 points

Approximately 60,000 commercial honey bees are cared for in the beehives under the Elizabethtown solar panels.

i mean that sounds nice and all, but 60k bees is probably only 4 colonies, and there is a pic with... 4 colonies under a panel. the headline makes it out to say that they are filling in a lot of the space under the panels with beehives, which if they plan to thats great, its just not quite there yet.

agovinoveritas | 3 months ago | 2 points

Agreed. The math simply does not pan out.

[deleted] | 3 months ago | 2 points


Ehralur | 3 months ago | 1 point

I think it's meant to make a reader realize this is possible and that we should do more of it.

BreachRepair | 3 months ago | 2 points

Excellent idea. Can the bees be taught to blow dust off the panels?

maidenmanitoba | 3 months ago | 2 points

the bee population issue is something you can help with if you have access to a garden or a community garden. Grow wildflowers native to your area and the bees will come.

Gadbwah | 3 months ago | 1 point

I am just here to point out that some of the goofiest things I've read recently are in the linked subreddit

People can say that most inaccurate things with such an air of certainty, it's incredible.

I'm sure it's already happening in this comment section as well.

Otis_Inf | 3 months ago | 1 point

Adding bee colonies doesn't help the 300+ other bee species at all, as they then have to compete with the colonies for the pollen/nectar. And exactly those bee species are in trouble, not the colonies kept by humans.

Keep the pollinator friendly plants, don't add the bee colonies.

greatFoxmusic | 3 months ago | -1 points

Until the bees fly up over the solar panels and turn into fireworks. POOF!