“ENEA and Enel have developed an ‘algovoltaic’ system to cultivate high-value microalgae, ranging from €100 ($106.19)/kg to €600/kg for pharmaceutical uses or cosmetic purposes. This is possible due to the integration of a fully automated cultivation system with a 7-kW solar array.
The system allows the cultivation of microalgae with a high commercial value, from €100/kg to €600/kg for pharmaceutical or cosmetic use, through a fully automated cultivation system integrated with the solar array.” – PV Magazine
Iowa State University Develops Agrisolar Project to Study Land Use
“Iowa State University (ISU) is embarking on a research project to explore the combination of crops and solar power. The Alliant Solar Farm at Iowa State University is a groundbreaking agrivoltaics research project merging solar power generation and agriculture to study how best to optimize land use while providing local community benefits. The array was inaugurated on Thursday, October 19th with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.” – prnewswire
New Chinese Agrisolar Design Accommodates Farming Equipment
“Researchers in China have built a 10 kW spectral-splitting concentrator agrivoltaic system that accommodates small farming equipment below it. The installation relies on 128 concentrator modules integrating each an ultra-white and toughened concentrating curved glass (CCG), a multilayer polymer film (MPF) and 23%-efficient interdigitated-back contact (IBC) crystalline silicon solar cells provided by Sunpower.” – PV Magazine
https://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/agrisolar-roundup-photo-scaled.jpg25602378A. J. Pucketthttps://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/AgriSolar_stacked_1-338x400.pngA. J. Puckett2023-10-30 16:52:042023-10-30 16:52:06AgriSolar News Roundup: ENEL Develops Agrisolar System, Agrisolar Research in Iowa, New Chinese Agrisolar Design
Sheep grazing at Brookfield agrisolar site. Photo: AgriSolar Clearinghouse
By Alyssa Andrew and Greg Plotkin
As solar development around the nation continues to accelerate, opportunities for farmers to graze livestock on solar sites also continue to grow. This is often considered a win-win scenario as it allows for land to continue in active agriculture while decreasing the need for mowing at solar sites, keeping costs and emissions low.
In order to capture the most accurate and comprehensive picture of solar grazing in America to date, the American Solar Grazing Association (ASGA) is conducting the first U.S. solar grazing census supported by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory between September 15 and December 31, 2023. The overall goal of this study is to assess standardized metrics that can be used to evaluate solar sheep grazing and to further identify best practices for these systems. Furthermore, this census will provide an updated picture of the scale and reach of solar grazing in the U.S.
ASGA is hoping to hear from as many solar graziers, as well as businesses or organizations that represent them, as possible and is grateful for those that can spend a few minutes to complete the survey. We also greatly appreciate you inviting other solar graziers to participate. All identities will be kept confidential.
We are extremely thankful for you taking the time to help accomplish our research goals and recognize the value of your time. Every survey respondent will receive $10 off the cost of ASGA membership. In addition, all survey respondents will be entered into a drawing to receive a $100 Amazon gift card and special gifts from ASGA as a token of our appreciation.
Thank you again for your participation. We look forward to sharing our results with the solar grazing community in 2024. If you have any questions, please reach out to Alyssa Andrew, ASGA Project Coordinator, at email@example.com
https://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/FollowTheSun-9542-scaled.jpg17072560Anna Adairhttps://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/AgriSolar_stacked_1-338x400.pngAnna Adair2023-10-04 09:13:152023-10-04 09:13:16Responses Requested for First-Ever National Solar Grazing Census
USDA Joins Great Plains Institute and Big River Farms in Minnesota Agrisolar Project
“Officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) joined Great Plains Institute (GPI) and Big River Farms announced GPI and Big River Farms’ ‘Solar Farmland Access for Emerging Farmers’ demonstration projects alongside project partners Connexus Energy and US Solar. As the country and Minnesota both take steps to convert our energy supply to be derived from carbon-free sources, this pilot project is setting out to solve for how solar energy development can be increased while also preserving agricultural land for the people who grow the state and nation’s food.
Funded by the Mortenson Family Foundation and with additional support from the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) and Argonne National Lab, these agrivoltaics projects aim to demonstrate safe and scalable operational practices for electric cooperatives and solar site owners to provide farmland access for emerging farmers inside the fence of solar facilities.” – Globenewswire.com
AgriSolar Clearinghouse’s Follow the Sun Tour Visits Oregon
The AgriSolar Clearinghouse’s Follow the Sun Tour visited the North Willamette Research and Extension Center in Aurora, Oregon, on September 18,2023. The research center hosts an agrivoltaic project, where the University of Oregon studies combining crops and solar energy on the same parcel of land. Event attendees participated in a tour of the agrivoltaic site, guided by lead researcher Dr. Chad Higgins. After the tour, everyone enjoyed a lunch and round-table discussion in the conference room of the facility.
Blue Wave in MA Secures $91 Million for Agrisolar Development
“Northeast U.S. solar developer and operator BlueWave received $91 million in financing, which the company says will allow it to achieve long-term ownership and management of its portfolio of projects.
The financing will go toward the construction of five projects featuring dual-use solar development attributes, called agrivoltaics, in Massachusetts. These projects are “strategically implemented to benefit all parties impacted by the projects,” including landowners, farmers and the surrounding community, according to BlueWave. The financing includes a $64 million debt raise with KeyBank, and $27 million tax equity raise with U.S. Bancorp Impact Finance.”– PV Magazine
Wisconsin Bill Introduces the Protecting Future Farmland Act
“U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced the Protecting Future Farmland Act, new legislation to support farmers’ land stewardship efforts as many choose to deploy solar energy on their land. The legislation will ensure that federal investment in rural energy projects prioritizes both land stewardship and responsible deployment of renewable energy to protect America’s farmlands for future cultivation.” Senate.gov
https://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/agrisolar-roundup-photo-scaled.jpg25602378A. J. Pucketthttps://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/AgriSolar_stacked_1-338x400.pngA. J. Puckett2023-10-02 08:07:162023-10-02 08:08:16AgriSolar News Roundup: Minnesota Agrisolar Project, Follow the Sun Tour in Oregon, Agrisolar Funding in Massachusetts, Protecting Future Farmland Act in Wisconsin
This report updates readers on new research in dual-use solar and explores important considerations for the implementation of dual-use solar in the Pacific Northwest region. In the last few years, new findings suggest there are many environmental and economic benefits of creating multi functional systems that combine and prioritize multiple land uses. New research of dual-use solar facilities shows increased yields in some crops and decreased water needs; benefits to grazing animals such as decreased heat stress; improved ecosystem services such as better water quality, erosion control, carbon storage, and pollination services; and further opportunities for dual-use implementation.
https://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/AgriSolar-Library-.png400600A. J. Pucketthttps://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/AgriSolar_stacked_1-338x400.pngA. J. Puckett2023-09-29 12:54:302023-09-29 12:54:31Dual-Use Solar in the Pacific Northwest Summer 2023
In Harrodsburg, Kentucky, a flock of sheep is successfully grazing on a solar array at the E.W. Brown Farm, thanks to a collaboration between Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill and LG&E. This operation is Kentucky’s largest solar farm, consisting of 44,000 solar panels on 50 acres.
Shaker Village’s flock grew from 125 Shetland sheep to more than 200 sheep—with 15 ram and ewe lambs born in Spring 2023, and more expected in the near future. Of these 200 sheep, more than 50 moved to the Brown Solar facility in April of 2023.
Utilizing sheep on the solar array is not only more environmentally friendly, but it will also save the company and its customers money in the long-term by offsetting the cost of using traditional (gas-powered) lawn mowers. Managing vegetation with sheep is also safer than using traditional mowers and weed eaters beneath and around solar panels, according to the E.W. Brown farm.
“By using sheep to graze what is Kentucky’s largest solar farm, instead of lawn mowers, we’re being more environmentally friendly and holding down maintenance costs for our customers,” said Aron Patrick, director, Research and Development. “What started as a research project is laying the foundation for sustainably integrating more solar generation into our portfolio, and we hope the unique way we’re managing it can be a model for solar sites around the world.” – https://lge-ku.com/sheep
Shaker Hill uses Shetland sheep, a heritage breed, on the E.W. Brown solar site. This breed originates from the highlands of Scotland and was common in the 19th century when the Shakers occupied the Pleasant Hill area. This allows Shaker Hill to connect their farm story directly to the Shaker’s agricultural history. Also, importantly, Shetlands are a smaller breed of sheep, and their size allows them to access the hard-to-reach areas of the solar arrays, whereas a larger breed might not be as efficient in maintaining vegetation growth. Shetlands are also known for their resilience in poor forage conditions, long life span and natural lambing ability.
“We’re happy to provide a green and sustainable way to help care for our neighbor’s land,” said Shaker Village farm manager Michael Moore. “Our farm gravitates toward heritage breeds, like Shetlands, that were raised by the Shakers of Pleasant Hill. This allows us to connect our farm story directly to the agricultural history of this region.”
The 50 sheep moved to the site in April 2023 will graze throughout the spring, summer and fall, and then they will be transported back to the Shaker Village Farm for the winter months.
There are also two Anatolian Pyrenees cross-bred dogs on-site that aid in protecting the sheep from predators. The guardian dogs live with and provide protection to the flock year-round. The team at Shaker Village manages the daily care of the dogs.
The successful partnership between Shaker Village, LG&E has inspired the launch of the children’s book, Levi the Lamb’s Big Day. The book follows a sheep named Levi as he grazes a solar facility. The book was written by LG&E and KU manager of Technology Research and Analysis, Aaron Carter, and is available for purchase online or at the Shaker Village Gift Shop.
Shaker Village also has a “ewe tube” camera, where people can watch a live feed of the solar array. You can watch the sheep graze the facility here.
https://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/E.W.-Brown-Sheep_20200410_091545-sheep-cam-cred-LGE-photo-4.png9001600A. J. Pucketthttps://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/AgriSolar_stacked_1-338x400.pngA. J. Puckett2023-09-06 11:00:492023-09-14 07:05:55Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill Solar Grazing in Kentucky
$500 Million Solar Grazing Site to be Constructed in Wyoming
“A proposed solar farm near Glenrock will cover 4,738 acres on land bordering the North Platte River, the equivalent of more than 3,500 football fields. When online, it will provide 500 megawatts of solar power and include two battery storage facilities. And there will still be room for the land to support a sheep-grazing operation after construction.
The $500 million project is scheduled to begin construction in March 2024, and if all goes as planned, will come online in July 2026. The project will be built entirely on private land, and Willox said the developer and landowner have agreed to allow sheep grazing underneath the panels.” – cowboystatedaily
French Study Shows Benefits of Agrisolar in Water Resource Management
“France’s Sun’Agri has revealed the results of a test showing how agrivoltaic installations effectively lower temperature and relative humidity during periods of drought. Amidst an ongoing heatwave in southern France, Sun’Agri, a French agrivoltaics specialist, has released its latest findings on the impacts of its technology on water resource management.
The company conducted an analysis on the effects of solar panels on apple, cherry, and nectarine trees across three sites in La Pugère, Etoile sur Rhône, and Loriol, southern France. The study demonstrated that the PV installations reduced temperature and increased relative humidity for the crops underneath the panels during hot weather, compared to reference areas without protection.” – PV Magazine
New Bill Shows Bipartisan Support for Agrisolar Development
“The latest demonstration of bipartisan support for agrivoltaics comes from the offices of US Senators Martin Heinrich of New Mexico and Mike Braun of Indiana. They introduced the new Agrivoltaics Research and Demonstration Act of 2023 in the Senate on May 31.
This bill will research agrivoltaics — solar panel systems that can be deployed over crops that can benefit from partial shading during the day — and how they can help farmers get more out of their fields.” – Cleantechnica
https://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/agrisolar-roundup-photo-scaled.jpg25602378A. J. Pucketthttps://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/AgriSolar_stacked_1-338x400.pngA. J. Puckett2023-08-30 09:22:042023-08-30 09:22:06AgriSolar News Roundup: Wyoming Solar Grazing, French Agrisolar Study, Bipartisan Agrisolar Support
“Part one of a three-part series on solar leases and considerations for lawyers and landowners. This is based on a presentation by Rusty Rumley, senior staff attorney, National Agricultural Law Center at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. The presentation was delivered at the tenth annual Mid-South Agricultural and Environmental Law Conference in Memphis, Tenn.” – Farmprogress.com
Pennsylvania Group Pitches Farms on Solar Models
“Solar development on farmland is happening across central Pennsylvania — in some cases generating opposition from people who don’t like the look of solar panels and object to the loss of open land.
Pasa Sustainable Agriculture is working to introduce farmers to a different way of building solar farms that allows farming to continue and creates a smaller footprint. They hope it’s a way to address concerns in communities that have objected to large-scale solar. The model is called agrivoltaics, and it uses raised panels to generate solar energy while farming or livestock grazing continues beneath.” – stateimpact.npr.org
Australian Agrivoltaic Project Development Set to Move Forward
“A “farmer-led” utility-scale solar PV and battery storage agrivoltaics project in New South Wales, Australia, has been granted development consent.
The state’s government has decided to grant consent to the development application for Blind Creek Solar Farm. The project was originated by a group of farmers and is now being developed by Octopus Australia and the national Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) together with its founders.” – energystorage.com
A Second Amendment Amendment
“California may be a national leader in both solar energy and agriculture, but it’s lagging behind other states in combining the two. Putting solar panels directly on active farmland is supported by the Biden administration, which provided $8 million for projects last year. The Midwest and Southeast lead the country in the number of what are also known as agrisolar projects.
Early research suggests agrivoltaicscan not only help produce renewable electricity, but also improve crop yields. “Sounds almost too good to be true,” California Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross quipped today during a panel on the practice held by the California Council on Science and Technology. In California, growers are more used to fighting utility-scale solar developers eyeing their land.
Ross highlighted a proposal by state Sen. Steve Padilla (D-San Diego), SB 688, that would set up a grant program at the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission for agrivoltaics research projects. The bill does not appropriate any funding.” – Politico.com
https://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/agrisolar-roundup-photo-scaled.jpg25602378A. J. Pucketthttps://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/AgriSolar_stacked_1-338x400.pngA. J. Puckett2023-08-09 10:58:242023-08-15 15:31:36AgriSolar News Roundup: Solar Lease Considerations, Pennsylvania Agrisolar Development, Agrisolar in Australia, California Agrisolar Politics
The Solar Shepherd provides grazing services in Brookfield, Massachusetts, with 75 sheep that graze a solar array site owned by SWEB Development, a European clean energy firm. This beneficial partnership was born when SWEB reached out to Solar Shepherd for grazing services after seeing their solar-grazing sites on social media. Learn more about the partnership in the AgriSolar Clearinghouse’s video How a Shepherd and Solar Developer are Joining Forces to Grow Sheep, Clean Energy.
Solar Shepherd’s founder and owner Dan Finnegan is a third- generation sheep farmer in eastern Massachusetts. His history working in a corporate environment led him to think more about what was important to him—the land, local farming, and clean energy. While he likes raising sheep, there wasn’t enough acreage for it to be profitable without agrisolar sites.
“It wouldn’t be enough to produce a living for a family,” he said. “This is more than a hobby-farming operation. With solar grazing, we dramatically expand our flock. We work hard to be competitive with landscapers on these sites. The grazing fees mitigate the costs and pay down the investment to take the show on the road (transporting sheep to solar sites). We’re used to farming out the back door, and now we have sites spread hundreds of miles apart. The grazing fees make that cost affordable.”
“I saw a solar array built on a lambing pasture, and a landscaper showed up with a tractor and started mowing up the solar arrays. He was going about 30 mph with a batwing sprayer and was mowing the rows and hosing down the panels around the arrays. I was thinking, they should just put the sheep down there and let them graze,” Dan recalled.
Solar Grazing Site Specifications and Management
The site is in a 15-acre array that produces 5 MW of DC and 3.375 MW of AC, enough to power approximately 1,100 homes. A landowner leases the land to SWEB, and SWEB hires Dan to graze the solar arrays with the sheep. The pricing is relatively the same as traditional mowing and gas-powered landscapers, but grazing sheep comes with many environmental benefits, such as enhanced landscape stabilization that directly benefits the solar companies. This stabilization includes deeper root systems on previously rocky terrain, improved turf health, and significant runoff reduction.
Solar Shepherd practices rotational grazing on their sites, which allows more carbon in the soil and retains more moisture. “We see that impact very rapidly. There are some sites we had that, in just one year, the customer came to us and said, ‘I can’t believe the impact the sheep had on the vegetation sustainability. It was rocky before, and now there are deeper root systems, stabilized soil.’ Erosion is a big concern at the base of the panels. A direct benefit to the solar companies is stabilizing that ground,” Dan added.
There’s also the “Fuzz and Buzz” – a solar seed blend used at the Brookfield site that benefits pollinators and sheep. It’s not as robust of a floral bloom, but the bees and sheep benefit greatly from this blend. A gas-powered mower removes all the vegetation on an array in a single day. The sheep take around a month to “mow” the same array. This allows valuable pollinator habitat to be left for the bees and birds. There’s good seed-to-solar contact, and the imprints from the sheep hooves allow the seeds to be captured in the soil. The sheep help the effectiveness of reseeding a site and some graziers will run the sheep back over the seeds to help stomp them down into the earth.
Solar grazing includes running three main operations: a sheep farm, a trucking company (as you move the animals), and a commercial landscaping business. “It’s more than just opening the gate, throwing the sheep in there, and driving away. There are always some sites that require things outside the lines,” said Dan.
Dan’s partner, border collie Reggie, has been vitally important in effectively managing the sheep on solar sites. In the trucking operation, sheep are loaded in and out of trucks over and over, and that requires collecting them from one site to another to be loaded into the trucks.
Reggie is immensely valuable in this process. She rounds up the sheep quickly, whereas it would take multiple human workers significantly more time. She is vital to effective time management (and cost, if you consider paying multiple workers to round up sheep all the time). Reggie moves the sheep around the array in accordance with rotational grazing practices.
Grant Incentives in Massachusetts
Massachusetts does have a grant program for dual use of solar (Massachusetts SMART Initiative), but it is “written in such a fashion that it can be difficult to be profitable,” said Dan. The grant does not apply to sites that already exist, and it requires panels to be built 10 feet off the ground. Solar Shepherd has not received this grant and has also not yet grazed an array that fits the 10-foot grant requirement.
Livestock production is diminishing in Massachusetts and what’s left is small-scale vegetable farming. Dan speculates that the state is writing laws for solar development incentives with this in mind instead of grazing sheep under solar panels.
“The community loves what we’re up to,” said Dan. “We had about 500 comments (on the recent video featured on CBS) and all of them were loving what we are doing. There are a few political comments. So, grazing sheep on solar might bring some unification from a political perspective.”
He also added that, “At least half the time I show up, there is a family there outside the gate at the fence watching the sheep. People are wanting to bring kids out to the sites to see the sheep. I’d like to do a program where people can come see them. We would love to host a solar event. We’re going to bring some sheep to town off the hill in Brookfield so people can see them and interact with them. I have a dream of bringing a bus load of kids out here to see how bees, sheep, and everything all come together.”
Since the Brookfield location is an ancient hay site where indigenous peoples managed the land when colonists first arrived, not damaging the vegetation or compacting the soil during the solar array installation was very important. This priority to minimize damage to the land could have a positive impact on community support for a solar site, particularly on ancient farmland or similarly valued sites. Communities like to see that a (solar) development company cares about the land and the process of development.
Considerations for New Sheep Graziers
New sheep graziers or those thinking about getting into sheep grazing on solar sites should consider a couple of things throughout the process. Educating themselves on what’s happening on the solar array is very important. “They don’t have to be engineers,” says Dan, “but they should understand what’s happening and what the potential dangers are and keep themselves and animals away from those areas. Stay out of areas where you might think ‘I should have an electrician in there.’ These are areas that contain things like cable trays and equipment pads.”
Don’t move forward with grazing a solar site if you haven’t walked the location and examined it for suitable conditions for your sheep. If construction techniques did not leave a space where you would feel comfortable leaving the sheep, such as poor wire management or dangerous or sharp edges on array components, it may be a good decision to decline grazing in that location. Dan says the sites he turns down are for animal welfare reasons. There might not be enough nutrition on the site, but it is usually wiring management. A good perimeter fence can also make a site more ideal for sheep.
Operating a grazing operation on your own property requires having a plan for food and water delivery, as well as for avoiding predation. A plan should be in place for responding to issues that may arise on the site and with little notice. Solar Shepherd has a 24-7 hotline for such issues.
For fencing, Dan prefers to use electric netting, which provides effective protection from predators. Coyotes prefer to go under the fence rather than over it, and considering such nuances in predator-prevention strategies can help design a fencing system that is most effective for your area and your circumstances. Hiring people who think from the sheep’s perspective is important, says Dan. Fortunately, he has not had any issues with predation to his sheep.
The Future of Solar Shepherd and Solar Grazing
The future of Solar Shepherd is looking bright. It originally took the company approximately one year to get hooves on the ground at a solar site. Now it only takes about a week or two. “I feel great about the solar grazing future and Solar Shepherd. The sales pitches are getting shorter and shorter. The world is becoming aware of this subject. Five years ago, it was, ‘You’re doing what?!’ The last pitch I gave was an hour-long presentation. I got 15 minutes into the meeting, and people said, ‘It’s great; we are ready to sign.’”
https://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/FollowTheSun-0429-scaled.jpg17072560A. J. Pucketthttps://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/AgriSolar_stacked_1-338x400.pngA. J. Puckett2023-07-31 11:46:142023-08-01 13:04:37Solar Shepherd in Massachusetts: Solar Grazing
Solar grazing is on the rise in the United States with dozens of new operations springing up across the country. However, with all of this growth in mind, an important question remains: if a grazier wants to enter the solar grazing market, how much will it cost, and how much revenue can they generate? Budget templates exist that can provide a grazier with guidelines, but hard data on grazier costs and revenues is more difficult to come by.
Researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Bock Agricultural Law & Policy Program set out to answer this question as a project through the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s ASTRO InSPIRE Seed Grant Program. Undergraduate students Tyler Swanson and Quin Karhoff, supported by Post-Doctoral Researcher Jessica Guarino and Professor A. Bryan Endres, conducted a survey of American solar grazing practitioners to gather data on common capital and labor investments, as well as operation sizes and revenue streams. The researchers hope that the findings of the survey will help graziers interested in entering the solar grazing market better understand what costs and revenues they can expect and contribute to more accurate budget tools for potential solar graziers. The results of the survey are included in their fact sheet The Economics of Solar Grazing.
https://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/AgriSolar-Library-.png400600A. J. Pucketthttps://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/AgriSolar_stacked_1-338x400.pngA. J. Puckett2023-07-24 15:18:352023-07-24 15:18:37Fact Sheet: The Economics of Solar Grazing
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.” – acf.hhs.gov
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.” – Bloomberg.com
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
https://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/agrisolar-roundup-photo-scaled.jpg25602378A. J. Pucketthttps://www.agrisolarclearinghouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/AgriSolar_stacked_1-338x400.pngA. J. Puckett2023-07-10 14:59:062023-07-10 14:59:07AgriSolar News Roundup: Community Solar and LIHEAP, Solar Grazing Saving Sheep Herders, Agrisolar in Germany
Helping people build resilient communities through local and sustainable solutions that reduce poverty, strengthen self-reliance, and protect natural resources.
To learn more about NCAT and its mission, please visit: WWW.NCAT.ORG.
This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) under the Solar Energy Technologies Office Award Number DE-EE0009372.
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