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Beekeeping on solar sites can reduce environmental impacts

Two people dressed in protective beekeeping gear check beehives

Beekeeping on solar sites, also known as AgriSolar beekeeping, is on the rise as people try to find ways to dual purpose agricultural land. This practice has many benefits for both farms, developers and the environment.

AgriSolar beekeeping helps with the concern that agricultural land will be lost to solar sites, and provides another way to utilize the land, according to Lindsay Mouw, policy associate at the Center for Rural Affairs.

“Just to really emphasize that clean energy or solar production and agriculture do not have to be either/or on land," Mouw said. "You can have both, and they can work really symbiotically together. And I think it's an exciting field that we're going to see more of.”

The practice is most popular in the Midwest, but according to Mouw, they want to expand it further. The benefits include increased revenue for farmers and an opportunity to save money for the developers.

But the benefits for the environment go beyond that. Mouw said that most commonly, these AgriSolar beekeeping sites are seeded with native, non-invasive plant species that increase the health of the soil and water quality. And these plants also help with bringing in more pollinators, which help all nearby fields.

A bonus is that these sites also attract the monarch butterfly, a species declining in population.

“So, it's attractive for the developer attractive for farmers and landowners. So, we're seeing it as a win-win," Mouw said.

The Center for Rural Affairs plans on being the main source for people trying out this new practice. Beekeeping on solar sites is just one example of dual purposing agricultural land, other kinds are also happening such as grazing sheep on solar sites.

For The CFRA's beekeeping fact sheet go to
Fact Sheet: Making the Case for Solar Beekeeping | Center For Rural Affairs - Building a Better Rural Future (