Beekeeping at existing solar parks in France


From pv magazine France

Engie Green, a unit of French energy group Engie, has joined forces with the associations France Nature Environnement and Apicluster to implement a beekeeping project at several of its solar parks located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d´Azur region, in southeastern France.

The project is called “HappySolaire” and is aimed at utilizing the vast, calm, and secure spaces offered by the empty spaces of the solar parks, which Engie Green defined as perfectly suitable to the development of bee colonies.

The project is being led by Apicluster, an association based in Marseille which installs apiaries within companies by promoting beekeeping practices that respect the environment. The project will also have a social component by training and supporting new beekeepers in their professional path.

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In 2019, Engie Green installed several beehives at its solar parks La Verdière and Charleval. The principle is that of transhumance, where beekeepers are able to move their hives according to the seasons to obtain specific honey for each flowering. In summer, the beehives can thus be transported to another solar park located in the nearby Valensole plateau to benefit from the lavender. Three other solar parks, in the Var and in the Alpes de Haute-Provence, will also soon welcome beehives. 

In addition, the La Verdière solar park is one of the first to have welcomed sheep on its land. Of the 50 solar parks operated by Engie Green in southern France, 28 sheep pastoralism partnerships have already been set up and 10 more are in the pipeline. “Whether it is beekeeping or pastoralism, our goal is to put this fenced land at the service of the sustainable development of the territory,” said Romain Verron, development manager of Engie Green. “Far from being a sacrificed space, the solar park is valued in many ways to contribute to the realization of virtuous local initiatives.”

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