The new buzz around solar farms

Date: 24-Jan-19
Author: Liam Taylor

The busy work of bees is estimated to have a value of over $400 billion annually. Image: James Pritchett/Unsplash © James Pritchett/Unsplash

The busy work of bees is estimated to have a value of over $400 billion annually. Image: James Pritchett/Unsplash

We all know that transitioning towards solar and other renewable energy sources is good for the planet but establishing solar farms may also be a method of arresting global bee decline. 

Global bee populations have been in significant decline since the late 1990s, mainly due to a combination of industrial agriculture, parasites/pathogens and climate change. This represents a threat to food security, with bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects provide an extremely valuable service in pollinating a third of all food consumed by humans. In fact, the busy work of bees is estimated to have a value of over $400 billion annually.

This has led to researchers around the world seeking potential solutions to prevent further decline in bee populations. Late last year, a research team from the U.S. Department of Energy found the land areas around solar farms make ideal locations for the types of plants that attract pollinators such as honey bees and butterflies.

The areas of land where solar farms have been situated generally go unused, often being filled with gravel or artificial grass. The team from the National Renewable Energy Lab looked at the potential benefits of swapping this with a low-growing meadow mix of grasses and flowers.

Their investigation found that co-locating solar farms with pollinator plants has a highly positive impact on local biodiversity for a range of plant and animal species. The team also discovered that in providing this type of pollinator habitat, crop yields on nearby agricultural land could also be improved.

With America expected to add around 25,000 square kilometres of solar farms by 2050, co-location could be key to preserving local biodiversity and agricultural productivity.


Positive Action

  • If you are a business-owner looking to decarbonise and reduce your own carbon footprint, check out the range of clean energy solutions offered by Planet Ark Power.
  • Stay up to date with the latest in climate change science by following the Climate Council, Australia’s leading climate change communications organisation.


Subscribe to Positive Environment News
Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Stumble It Email This More...


Liam                                              Taylor
Author: Liam Taylor

Liam is Planet Ark's Communications Coordinator. Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia.

Related News: