Written by: Leonard Parker | Solar News | 27th April
Navisun announces the completion of two solar projects in Massachusetts totaling 3.8 MW of solar power. These projects are among the first solar projects in the state to earn the new pollinator adder through Massachusetts’ SMART Program. Navisun’s pollinator-friendly expertise, developed through these projects, will also enable it to implement pollinator habitats in all applicable future solar projects through its new pollinator program. The projects are located in Orange and Sheffield, Massachusetts and will generate enough electricity to power approximately 600 homes with renewable energy annually.
Navisun worked closely with expert ecologists to initiate its new pollinator program in an effort to help reverse the loss of essential pollinator habitats as well as support greater food security. Environmental stressors, such as land development and pesticides, have caused the number of bee colonies per hectare to decline by 90% since 1962 among U.S. crops that require bee pollination. This is a critical issue, as insects such as bees and butterflies are responsible for pollinating nearly 75% of all crops consumed by humans. Navisun’s pollinator-friendly expertise will enable further implementation of pollinator habitats in all applicable future projects, which will in turn directly support farmers, food production and the environment.
Navisun has been awarded Pollinator-Friendly Certificates from the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst Clean Energy Extension, enabling the sites in Orange and Sheffield, Massachusetts to meet the requirements for the Massachusetts SMART pollinator adder. “Developing pollinator-friendly habitats is one more way Navisun demonstrates its conscientious commitment to the environment and land stewardship,” said John Malloy, managing partner and co-founder of Navisun. “They are part of our underlying commitment to farmers, landowners, and the communities we serve, and we’re pleased to formalize our pollinator program.”
Project partner and Chairwoman of the Sheffield municipal government’s Board of Selectmen Rene Wood shared, “Speaking as a private citizen and Sheffield’s Select Board Chair, I am delighted this award has been given to Navisun for pollinator-friendly actions at their Home Road solar array. Sheffield is a Right-to-Farm community; In 2020, the Board adopted a pollinator-friendly policy to support the Agricultural Commission and residents. This award furthers our town-wide efforts and recognizes the critical role pollinators hold in our food production and well-being.”
Navisun is one of the first companies to apply for and receive the recent adder to the Massachusetts SMART Program. In order to be certified as a pollinator-friendly facility, site grounds must be prepared and maintained to promote native meadow habitats under and around solar panels. Among many requirements, achieving the UMass certification includes planting native flowering herbs and shrubs, desisting from using insecticide or fungicide, maintaining bee nesting habitats, and providing safe passageways along with project fencing for small wildlife.