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Welcome to the Naturesave SOLAR BEE Project, our campaign to protect bees and promote community renewable energy.
This project has been funded by The Naturesave Trust and has two key clear campaign objectives;
Firstly – is to help tackle the decline in bee populations which is in part down to the parasitic Varroa mite. The pest is the main source of honeybee colony mortality worldwide and is usually treated with chemicals. Not only is the Varroa developing resistance to chemicals, but there is also evidence of the chemical contamination of the honey produced. For this project, The Naturesave Trust has invested in 10 innovative Thermosolar beehives, a new beehive design that uses passive solar gain to elevate the internal hive temperature. This kills off the Varroa and avoids the use of chemicals. The Solar Bee Project will represent the worlds biggest rollout of thermosolar beehive technology.
The second objective of the campaign is to extend the environmental benefits of community solar farms beyond that of carbon reduction and community ownership. By introducing beehives that require no chemical intervention, we can help solar farms significantly improve onsite biodiversity. Due to their size and the absence of intensive farming, this is something that solar farms have great potential for.
Improving biodiversity can have significant benefits for nature conservation in addition to offering educational benefits on the importance of helping protect our pollinators. The honey produced can be branded by the community energy group and sold locally which further reinforces the benefits of locally produced clean energy. As a result, local communities become more connected to both their energy and ecology.
Why the Community Renewable Energy sector? – Naturesave is not only a market leader in community renewable energy insurance we also supplying grant funding and investment capital via the Naturesave Trust. Currently, the community renewable energy sector plays a key role in tackling one of the most important tasks in society today, reducing our reliance on fossil fuels by decarbonising our energy sector. With this project, we are seeking to add a second environmental benefit, one that has become as important as carbon reduction, and that is biodiversity. Urgent action is now required to mitigate the loss of wildlife across the UK, particularly our pollinators. We believe that solar farms could play a pivotal role in tackling this issue.
How it all started.
In 2017, in a UK first, the Naturesave Trust provided grant funding for two of thermosolar hives, at Southill Community Energy in Charlbury, Oxfordshire. The project was a resounding success and inspired The Solar Bee Project, which aims to build on that success by supplying a number of community energy sites across the UK. Beehives will be issued in pairs to each site chosen from the application process below.
What is on offer
Two Thermosolar Beehives – Donated by the Naturesave Trust
Expert beekeeping advice – provided by Tom Worsley of UK Thermosolar
- Training on using Thermosolar beehives
- Site visits where required
- Guidance on how to locate your beehive
- Sample beekeeper service agreement
- Advice and forms for monitoring and tracking performance of hive maintenance
What you will need to do.
- Complete the online application form
- Enter a service agreement with the beekeeper costing £200 per annum – we will provide a template service agreement and assist in finding a beekeeper
- Purchase a colony of bees at £200 – This is effectively a one-off cost for the first year of operation, as provided the bees are well managed the colony will propagate from year to year. If the beekeeper is doing a good job the surplus colonies can be sold on.
What happens next?
Applications will be reviewed by the Naturesave Trust and, expert beekeeper and founder of UK Thermosolar, Tom Worsley. The successful sites will be announced on the 8th February 2019
To be eligible for selection, your site must be UK based and ready to receive and install the hives by March 2019, in order to be ready to receive the first colonies of bees as the 2019 season begins.
PLEASE NOTE THE APPLICATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED AND THE NATURESAVE TRUST IS IN THE PROCESS OF LIAISING WITH THE SUCCESSFUL APPLICANTS.
IF THIS TRIAL IS SUCCESSFUL THE TRUST INTENDS TO INVEST IN MORE BEEHIVES IN THE NEAR FUTURE.
The Naturesave Trust is a registered charity – No 1048505.