A post by Guest Contributor, Rob Davis — Filmmaker Scott Mason returned to his hometown of Meadville, PA earlier this year and produced a beautiful video about how the national trend of pollinator-friendly solar is creating community and economic opportunity in Pennsylvania.

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The Center for Pollinators in Energy at nonprofit Fresh Energy works with communities nationwide to realize and maximize the benefits of our transition from smokestack power plants to use of greater use of solar farms and clean energy. These transitions are playing out all over the United States — from Medford, Oregon to LaFarge, Wisconsin to Poughkeepsie, New York, and back to Twin Falls, Idaho.

Touring the Ernst Conservation Seeds farm last fall, and hearing from native and naturalized seed growers at Eastern Native Grass Symposium, put the resiliency and entrepreneurial adaptability of America’s seed producers on full display. Growers like Ernst Conservation Seeds in collaboration with equally expert landscape design and installation companies like Ernst Pollinator Services, are ready to work with developers in the fast-growing market to build ground-mounted solar. Penn State’s Center for Pollinator Research even published best practice guidance — a PA pollinator-friendly solar scorecard — as to what constitutes “beneficial to pollinators” within the constraints of the managed landscape of a photovoltaic solar farm.

(Top row) Visiting Voodoo Brewery with Andy and Robin Ernst; (Bottom row) harvest season at Ernst Conservation Seeds.

(Top row) Visiting Voodoo Brewery with Andy and Robin Ernst; (Bottom row) harvest season at Ernst Conservation Seeds.

Meadville is also the home of internationally recognized Voodoo Brewery. CEO Matteo Rachocki and his team recognize the importance of clean energy as well as helping populations the pollinating insects important to biodiversity and food security. Following an introduction by Ernst’s team, Voodoo Brewing used honey harvested by Dustin and Grace Vanasse of Bare Honey to produce a tap-room favorite Honey Lager.

Stacking benefits from the ground up on solar farms is bringing more people together, creating more jobs, and pointing toward to an optimistic future. As I wrote for Organic Valley’s Rootstock blog pollinator-friendly solar is a win-win-win for people, planet and pollinators.


As director of Center for Pollinators in Energy at Fresh Energy, Rob Davis helps accelerate the nation’s transition to the use of clean and renewable energy. Davis’s work on pollinator-friendly solar has been highlighted in Scientific American, Fast Company, and in trainings by the U.S. Department of Energy, and he presented at TEDxMinneapolis in 2017. He can be reached at [email protected].

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