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:
Each group has now located a beekeeper and a suitable location for their beehives. The ten thermosolar beehives are currently being installed ready for the bee season. In addition to tasty chemical-free honey, the resident beekeepers will be collecting valuable data which will be shared with the global beekeeping community. The data gathered from all sites will hopefully provide a valuable insight into worldwide bee conservation.
Why the Community Renewable Energy sector? – Naturesave is a market leader in community renewable energy insurance. We also offer grant funding and investment capital to community energy groups via the Naturesave Trust. We believe this sector plays a vitol role in tackling one of the most important tasks facing society today, reducing our reliance on fossil fuels by decarbonising the energy sector. With this project we are seeking to equip solar farms with 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 now play a pivotal role in tackling this issue and there is no better catalyst for this than the introduction of the honeybee!
Comments from the field
‘Southill Community Energy were so fortunate to have the expertise of Tom Worsley on our doorstep and open up the possibility of bringing the thermosolar hive to the UK. This unique hive has helped demonstrate the natural synergy between solar farms, wildflower meadows, and beekeeping. With the help of the Naturesave Trust and the Solar Bee project, we have shown local communities that a solar re-wilding project can still yield a valuable agricultural crop of honey, with the final product on the shelves of local shops, and into the diets of local communities‘.
Tim Crisp, Director Southill Community Energy (the first community energy group in the UK to discover Thermosolar Beehives)
‘Being selected as part of the Naturesave Solar Bee Project has helped Plymouth Energy Community to extend the environmental and biodiversity benefits of its community solar site at Ernesettle, including by working with local beekeepers to introduce the native black honey bee, and participate in research into the use of the thermosolar hives to counter one of the main threats to honey bees, the Varroa mite and avoid intrusive chemical treatments’.
Jon Selman PEC, Plymouth Energy Community Advisor
‘The Solar Bee project combines innovation, technology, sustainability, and community. Honeybees provide a focal point by encouraging engagement with the local environment which promotes further improvements for all wildlife’.
Jennifer Moore, Beekeeper, Cuckmere Solar
‘The Solar Bee Project represents the world’s biggest rollout of thermosolar beehives and will play a vital role in proving that this new method of beekeeping can help eradicate the Varroa mite without the need for chemicals. Placing the beehives on community solar farms has a wonderful synergy that will highlight how these sites can play a key role in nature conservation in addition to producing clean energy’.
Tom Worsley, Thermosolar Beekeeping expert and sole UK importer of the thermosolar beehives)
‘At Cuckmere Community Solar we are delighted to have been given two solar beehives by the NatureSave Trust. Our hives are thriving and we are looking forward to killing off those pesky Varroa mites with a first solar zapping in the next few weeks as Autumn arrives. This will set the bees up for a good winter and a strong start next Spring, free of a pest that on a human would be the equivalent of the size of a dinner plate!
All of this has generated a wonderful local conversation about bees and insects – not just the honeybees in our hives – and helped to create awareness of our project more generally.
Bees are inspiring and the link between solar power and helping wildlife are obvious – if managed properly, solar farms can become nature reserves and provide a huge boost for our beleaguered wildlife…just today I was there and was astonished by the number of crickets, bees and other insects including some beautiful small azure blue butterflies, birds like the Goldfinch and Yellowhammer, and a big hare.
We are extremely grateful to Naturesave Trust for their inspiration, generosity and leadership in donating these hives and in so doing, helping us to deepen the connection between solar and wildlife. They fully deserve public recognition’.
Dr Alister Scott Chair, Cuckmere Community Solar
The Naturesave Trust is a registered charity – No 1048505.