Vol69-09 September 2019

Something’s buzzing at the SMECO solar farm

Hives

The effort to increase native habitat for pollinators has grown nationwide in recent years as people become more aware of the necessity of keeping the population of bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds alive and well. In April 2019, two bee hives were relocated to the SMECO solar farm in Hughesville and a wildflower habitat was planted for the buzzing little pollinators. The bees—queens and drones—were purchased in Remington, Virginia, earlier in the day. Another hive was also set up at SMECO’s Engineering & Operations Center.

Establishing native plants at solar farms achieves multiple goals. The wild flowers make good ground cover, they don’t require mowing so they reduce maintenance, and they help pollinators. To grow pollen and nectar producing plants, a team of SMECO employees worked to create the habitat with a mixture of Eastern wild seed that is native to our area.

Since April, the population of bees from the two hives has grown from about 9,000 to 40,000 bees. If this project is successful, SMECO may be able to expand the habitat throughout the remainder of the solar farm.

Rendering of new facility