AgriSolar News Roundup: Community Solar and LIHEAP, Solar Grazing Saving Sheep Herders, Agrisolar in Germany 

OCS Releases Guidance on Community Solar and LIHEAP for Grant Recipients 

“The purpose of this grant recipient information is to: 1) confirm that LIHEAP funds can be used for solar energy use through new and existing electric payment mechanisms, such as community solar subscription fees; and 2) provide LIHEAP grant recipients with recommendations to consider when utilizing LIHEAP funds for community solar subscriptions.” – 

Benefits of community solar include cost savings, access to clean energy, support for local communities, and flexibility in subscription options. 

Solar Grazing Benefits Sheep Herders with Revenue Opportunities 

“The US solar industry has been growing rapidly: The country is expected to break solar construction records this year by adding more than 32 gigawatts of capacity, according to a Bloomberg NEF outlook. That’s enough to power more than 25 million homes. At the same time, there are concerns there won’t be enough cropland to feed a growing world population, especially if acreage is covered by buildings, roads or photovoltaic installations instead. 

The American Solar Grazing Association, founded in 2018, estimates about 5,000 sheep are currently maintaining US solar sites. ‘The sheep do a better job supporting the biodiversity than a conventional mower,’ said Jay Smith, Director of Asset Management at Standard Solar. In some instances, sheep are better suited to maneuver around solar panels than conventional mowers and help reduce carbon emissions. 

The practice [Agrisolar] is giving sheep herders a lifeline, introducing a new revenue stream after a decades-long decline for the US lamb industry. The number of sheep slaughtered in the US has been averaging over 2 million head in recent years, compared to more than 9 million in the early 1970s, according to Department of Agriculture data.” –  

German Agrisolar Project Uses Solar to Benefit Hop Growth 

“Germany’s Agri Energie has commissioned an agrivoltaic project in Hallertau, near Munich, in the German state of Bavaria. The €1.5 million ($1.64 million) project combines solar generation with hop growth. 

The company installed the PV system on steel masts, providing protection to hop plants from sunlight and hail, while also reducing evaporation. In addition, the system serves as support for the hop plants.” – PV Magazine