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So...Odd question.
New bee yard on a farm that does a lot of mixed veggies and cover cropping. Most convenient spot for the hives to be located is along a windrow of solar panels. I'm assuming it'll be fine, but on the ignorant thought of "could the electromagnet radiation have any affect on the bees.."
Anyone?
On a plus side, the hives would at least be shaded during the midday sun.

-Sunday
 

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There are plenty of reports of hives doing better in full sun.

Regardless of whether bees are nearby, electromagnetic radiation is not an issue with solar panels. Solar panels are low voltage DC, not high tension AC power lines.
 

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I would think it would be fine for the bees but the bees might lower the solar output slightly. Lots of bee poop on the panels is not desirable. If you have the hives on the back side of the panels facing away from them it will be better. I would think moving them out in the sun would also be better. Think about the low winter sun as well as it can help for cleansing flights.

Ryan
 

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My concern would be that the reflection from the solar panels will interrupt the bees foraging and finding their way back home again. They use the sun as a guidance system.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hey All,

Thanks a lot. I didn't think about bee poop/debris on panels. Thanks for thinking outside the box on that!
Well, we'll have a test case with about 50 nucs this year. =)
 

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There's essentially no reflection off of solar panels; the function of the solar panel is to absorb as much sunlight as possible and minimize reflection. Rain will quickly wash off any bee residue on a solar panel. I have a solar panel next to my hives and there's never been a problem.
 

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there is a lot of reflection off of solar panels, i worked with hundreds of them and in the sun they are blinding when you look down on them, they are very poor efficiency devices at absorbing light and making power, only a small amount of the light becomes electricity the rest is reflected or turned into heat. my only concern with solar panels and bees would be debris from bees on the panels and the solar panels shading the hives too much on cold days so the bees dont get the energy.
 

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My bees and my solar panels get along just fine. Bees are @20 - 50 feet away from a group of pole mounted panels.

My husband is in the solar biz so I just checked with him on tech specs. Glare/reflectivity is not much of a problem, but it does vary with brand of panel, with some being better than others at reducing light reflectivity.

EMF is almost nil.

DC wattage per panel varies, but in the vicinity of the panels not an issue. Panels are typically ganged together (in "strings") and then DC wattage can be higher, but these lines are often underground, or in conduits.

In a very dry climate bee poop might soil panels if there was no rain to wash it off, but my bees don't seem to be making my panels dirty, so I think that's a non issue. Many other kinds of insects from flies to beetles undoubtedly poop on the panels, as well.

I prefer full sun for my bees, so directly under the panels, unless they were pretty high from the ground (some installations are, but some are closer to the ground) wouldn't be my preferred place. Near or along the line of panels isn't a problem as long as you can work the bees without banging into the panels or having to bend over to stay below them.

You didn't say if the panels are in a so-called ground-mounted array (long lines of panels attached to a framework without a break between the panels) or pole-mounted (groups of panels mounted together on a single pole.) Having the bees among a pole-mounted group wouldn't presentany shade issues as the individual poles would provide sun spots between them (they can't be so close to one another that they shade each other). Having the bees under a ground-mounted system, in complete shade like under bleachers would be a problem, but only due to constant shade.

One the good side, having a site with solar panels makes it easy to tell which way is true solar south, so setting up your hives to get the best sun is a snap. I used my husband's solar array siting instruments to choose the best spots for my hives. It was quite surprising how moving them just a few feet gained extra hours of summer sun, especially early morning sun.

Enj.
 

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Solar photovoltaic panels absorb some sunlight, but they get quite hot in the process. The area behind them could be pretty warm in spite of being in the shade. Most these days are adhered to the back of tempered glass panels, which will reflect light strongly beyond a certain critical angle, so expect a glare during the morning and evening.

DC solar panels should have no electromagnetic radiation. But most being installed today have microinverters to produce AC. These could be a rich source of EM that some people think the bees might sense. More likely, there could be a faint buzz at multiples of 60 Hz going way up in the audio spectrum. Bees buzz at a number of frequencies, especially 120 and 240 Hz and might find the electronics interesting.
 

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a coworker of mine lives under High voltage lines so he bought a emf sensor and we played around with it all over the place (we work in a sawmill as electricians), the high voltage lines in his yard were on the high side for humans to live under by health Canada regulations but inside his house they dropped off significantly and were barley detectable except on the top floor, the microwave 10ft away set the reader off its chart. old style coil and core ballast fluorescent lamps set it off the scale at 4ft away but the electronic ballast ones didnt even read up till a few inches. solar panels were undetectable but an inverter was in the high zone at a foot (this was a large inverter for 20 55w panels) i cant see a 100w or so inverter doing much located on each panel.

most inverters switch at a very high frequency to make a simulated ac waveform so buzz at a much higher frequency than 60hz some are around 4000hz
 
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