Cypress Creek Renewables today announced its plan to build New York State’s first solar farms with pollinator habitats. The two solar energy projects, located in the Hudson Valley and the North Country, will generate clean, affordable power for local communities and benefit the environment and surrounding farms with increased wild habitats for pollinators, including honeybees.
Cypress Creek has committed to planting pollinator habitats at its Underhill solar farm in Poughkeepsie, NY and at its recently completed Jefferson solar farm in Watertown, NY. The projects are designed to support local farmers by increasing the wild habitat for pollinators, such as honeybees, needed for the success of crops.
Fast Facts about pollinators and solar farms:
- Co-locating pollinator habitats at solar farms provides a continual source of nourishment for native bees and local wildlife, as well as managed honeybees
- Establishing perennial flowering meadows can improve crop yields of nearby agricultural farms, due to increased abundance of beneficial insects
- Pollinator habitats, including flowers and native vegetation, can reduce soil erosion and storm water runoff
To determine what is beneficial to pollinators in the context of these solar arrays, Cypress Creek will rely on a scorecard developed at the Gund Institute for Environment at the University of Vermont. The Underhill and Jefferson solar farms will score 90 or more points on the pollinator-friendly solar scorecard.
What people are saying about pollinator-friendly solar farms:
Marcia Bystryn, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters said, “We applaud Cypress Creek Renewables’ leadership and commitment to build the state’s first solar farms with pollinator-friendly habitats. Here in New York we’re demonstrating the power of clean, low-cost energy to promote healthier farms and generate economic development.”
Ellen Conrad, Co-President of Bedford 2020 said, “Bedford 2020 is delighted with the news that Cypress Creek’s solar array in Poughkeepsie will include a Pollinator Habitat. The idea of providing essential forage for pollinators, promoting native plants, advancing renewable energy and increasing agricultural production—all at the same time—is truly a unique opportunity that Bedford 2020 will be promoting at a regional Climate Action Summit this Saturday, February 3, 2018. We are looking forward to a collaborative effort, a Demonstration Pollinator Friendly Habitat Project, where we will be working with Cypress Creek, other solar developers, farmers, businesses, elected officials, beekeepers, birders and concerned citizens to promote many more such projects throughout the region of Hudson Valley, Westchester and Long Island.”
Emily Watson, a neighbor to the Underhill solar farm, and Co-Owner of the Plan Bee Farm Brewery said, “At Plan Bee Farm Brewery, we produce 100% NYS ingredient beers and cultivate a wild yeast from our raw honey. Our beehives are central to the flavor and terroir of our natural beers. We look forward to potentially expanding our apiary thanks to the pollinator friendly solar fields next door. Our goal of becoming 100% sustainable is aided by the community around us and we are so happy to welcome Cypress Creek Renewables to Underhill.”
Rob Davis, Director of the Center for Pollinators in Energy said, “Many of New York State’s premier crops, such as apples, alfalfa, soybeans, pumpkins, and berries, rely heavily on pollination yet in 2016 New York State lost fifty percent of its managed pollinator colonies and populations of native pollinators and other beneficial insects continued to decline. Solar arrays—like the Underhill project by Cypress Creek Renewables—provide a once-in-a-generation opportunity to enable significant private-sector investment in acres and acres of clean and healthy pollen and nectar for the insects that are urgently needed in agriculture.”
John Reagan, Senior Zoning and Outreach Manager, Cypress Creek Renewables said, “Cypress Creek is committed to being a good neighbor while providing clean, low-cost power to communities throughout New York. Incorporating pollinator-friendly habitats at our solar farms provides another opportunity to benefit the environment and the local towns we serve.”
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