RAMSEY, Minn. – (Oct. 10, 2017) – Earlier this year, Connexus Energy unveiled their pollinator friendly solar array. Most solar arrays cover the ground with gravel, but Connexus Energy planted native plants and flowers around their solar panels.
In the process, the started talking with Bolton Bees, who agreed to bring an apiary to the solar garden. And this spring, Bolton Bees brought in several hives to start pollinating in a controlled environment.
“Bees are dying at an alarming rate right now,” said Chiara Bolton of Bolton Bees. “It’s due to habitat loss, pesticides, mites, diseases, and many other factors; but one of the things we can control is habitat.”
The land around the solar panels is a perfect environment for bees to thrive. The Solarwise garden at Connexus Energy is subscriber based. Household can buy the energy off of one solar panel, or pay to get all of their energy from the solar garden. These subscribers were invited to a honey harvesting event where they could see how the honey goes from the hive to the jar. They also got to sample the honey and take home their own jar of honey made on site.
Beyond being tasty, the creation of this honey also helped fuel other local foods, since they estimate that bees travel up to three miles from their home looking for pollen.
“Thirty-five percent of the world food crops need pollinators,” says Connexus CEO Greg Ridderbusch.
And this idea seems to be catching on. This year, the partnership between Bolton Bees and Connexus Energy was the first of it’s kind, but the Boltons are already seeing interest across the country.