The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, in cooperation with the St. Albans Area Watershed Association, conducted a study of the effectiveness of SolarBees® water circulators in reducing algae blooms at the northern end of St. Albans Bay, Lake Champlain during 2007. The study found no evidence that the SolarBees® reduced algal concentrations, improved water clarity, or inhibited blue-green algae in St. Albans Bay. The treatment goal of producing an approximately 100-acre zone of clear, low-algae water at the northern end of St. Albans Bay was not achieved by the SolarBees® deployment.
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The response provided from SolarBee, Inc.
This was a 3-month study (June – August 2007), with 3 SolarBees installed at the north end of the 1,700-acre St. Albans Bay. We had strongly recommended 6 units for the study, but local finances limited the number to 3 units. The study was conducted by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (VANR). Although the design and data were quite good, the VANR made several serious errors with their data interpretation and assumptions. We provided to the VANR an 8-page review and explanation of their errors in their draft report, but they refused to address these issues in their final May 2008 report and concluded that the 3 SolarBees did not provide the anticipated benefits in St. Albans Bay. It may be relevant that on numerous occasions prior to SolarBees’ installation the lead author of the study stated publicly his opinion that the SolarBees would not create any demonstrable impact because of the large size of the bay. As described and analyzed in our review (available upon request), however, their data clearly documented an unprecedented benefit in St. Albans Bay, even with half the recommended number of units for this test. We strongly disagree with the VANR’s conclusion, but are very appreciative of the high quality data they collected.