The objective of this study was to determine the effects on grazing cattle under shade from a solar photovoltaic system. Included in the study were weather data as well as biological and behavioral measurements of the cattle. These measurements included fly avoidance and behaviors, fly counts, respiration rates, drinking activity and bouts, eating behavior, rumination and lying time. The study also collected data on use of shade by the cattle and their body temperature(s). The results of this study show that agrivoltaics may provide an acceptable method of heat abatement to pastured dairy cows, among other benefits.
The objectives of the thesis were to investigate electrical energy use on dairy farms located in west central Minnesota and to evaluate the effects of shade use by cattle from solar photovoltaic systems. This study concluded that agrivoltaics is one method that producers could use to achieve multiple benefits, including but not limited to: increasing land-use efficiency, reducing grid-tied and fossil fuel-produced electricity use, and increasing consumer acceptance all while providing heat abatement to cattle which has the potential to increase milk production, health, and welfare of dairy cows.
The study includes information that may be useful in developing agrisolar operations that include grazing sheep, such as: solar-grazing compensation(s), purchasing of lambs, operating expenses and fixed-cost investments. The research aims to answer questions about the nascent solar-agricultural industry, assess opportunities to attract farmers to the EDF Renewables Morris Ridge Solar Energy Center, and identify viable markets for solar-raised products.