Solar Grazing FAQ
Do farmers charge to graze sheep on solar arrays?
Farmers do need to charge a fair rate for bringing sheep to solar sites and meeting the performance guarantees required of the solar industry.
Isn't the wiring at risk from the sheep?
No. Sheep keep their heads down and eat grass. Nearly all solar farms in North Carolina, Florida, many in New York, and most of Europe are grazed by sheep, and have been for years without incident.
Solar grazing is a kind of targeted grazing, which has been around for a long time. Think of it as solar meadows or solar pastures.
Would the panels need to be raised higher?
No. Sheep are small and nimble. They can eat vegetation no matter the height of the panels.
Is there a market need for more lamb?
Yes. The US imports nearly 50% of the lamb it consumes. Interest in local foods has put a premium on locally-produced lamb, sheep dairy products, and specialty wools, despite increased imports over the last 20 years.
What about other kinds of agriculture on solar farms?
There are a number of other ways to co-locate agriculture and solar farms. These include keeping bees, growing mushrooms and vegetable crops, and keeping chickens. All of these are excellent practices, and suitable in specific locations. However, these are not grounds -maintenance practices in and of themselves.
What about planting for pollinators?
Planting pollinator-friendly groundcovers on solar farms has many benefits. Pollinators are on the decline worldwide and need all the help they can get. Adequate pollination of crops is critical for food yields, so crop farmers who rely on pollination hire beekeepers to bring bees at flowering time to ensure a good crop. Planting pollinator species on solar farms can help support local pollinator species such as honeybees and wild bees. Pollinator species can coexist with solar grazing with careful management practices.