Solar Grazing: An Exciting Development in the Partnership Between Solar Power & Agriculture
As the solar industry continues to grow, the co-location of solar development and agricultural-use is becoming increasingly important when it comes to new and ongoing solar projects.
Solar grazing is just one example of the partnership between solar and agriculture. The practice of solar grazing, a method of vegetation control for solar sites that utilizes livestock (primarily sheep), has grown in popularity over the past few years for a number of reasons.
GreenSpark Solar, in collaboration with Kendall Sustainable Infrastructure (KSI), has recently partnered with the J&R Pierce Family Farm for solar grazing services at a site in Plattsburgh, New York. KSI owns the five MW solar array (partially funded by NYSERDA’s NY-Sun Program), and hired GreenSpark for both the Engineering, Procurement, and Construction, as well as the ongoing Operations & Maintenance services.
John Chaimanis, KSI Co-Founder and Managing Director, encouraged solar grazing at the Plattsburgh site because ‘Working with local ranchers is rewarding, it reinvests in our communities, and it is more environmentally sustainable than mowing.”
Many solar developers and farmers are turning to solar grazing due to the economic and environmental benefits involved. As a form of vegetation management, grazing offers reduced carbon emissions and lower or comparable costs for services. Plus, the panels are high enough off the ground so the sheep can graze the entire site, maintaining the harder-to-reach vegetation. Solar grazing allows business to increase both the environmental and economic impact of their solar projects.