Solar Grazing Tag

When I started back to work at NCAT as a sustainable agriculture specialist in August of 2021, after a five-year absence, I was vaguely familiar with the term agrisolar. Having experience working as both a farmer and a solar energy installer, I was aware of an explosion of new solar development projects happening across the country. I also knew that soil identified as prime farmland is, in many cases, prime land for solar development.
By Chris Lent, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist...

Montgomery Sheep Farm in North Carolina combines an unusual mix of enterprises, reports radio station WFAE. The 200-acre farm is home not only to 400 sheep and other livestock, but also a 20-megawatt solar farm and a bed and breakfast. "Agriculture alone is very, very difficult to make work, so every single farmer has to do something else," says Joel Olsen, the solar developer who envisioned the diverse operation. The farm also hosts tours and dinners....

Related NCAT Resource: AgriSolar Clearinghouse A new fact sheet from the Center for Rural Affairs explains how grazing on solar sites can enhance value and keep land in agriculture use. Solar grazing is the use of livestock, usually sheep, to manage vegetation at solar sites. It takes the place of traditional mowing, offering numerous environmental and financial benefits and meeting clean energy and agricultural goals simultaneously. Making the Case for Solar Grazing addresses the economics and environmental benefits of solar grazing, provides steps for the planning process, discusses what developers and farmers should consider when developing a contract, aids in considering...

Related ATTRA Podcast: Sheep and the Sun: Solar Grazing with Lexie Hain Cornell University and USDA funded a three-year, $500,000 project that will explore forming a business cooperative to provide shepherds grazing under solar arrays with coordination and logistical services. Having sheep graze under solar arrays is becoming more popular as a way to control vegetation and keep the land under solar installations in agricultural production. However, it can be a challenge for large renewable energy companies to manage the grazing services offered primarily by small-scale shepherds. This project will explore the benefits to farmers of business collaboration, not only to offer...

This week’s episode of Voices from the Field takes a look at solar grazing, the practice of using livestock to manage the vegetation under solar panels. Sheep are widely considered the best animal for solar grazing, and they are being used in many countries with great success. National Center for Appropriate Technology Livestock Specialist Linda Coffey talks with Lexie Hain, a co-founder of the American Solar Grazing Association. Lexie, who began grazing sheep at solar arrays in 2016, talks about how she began solar grazing and offers practical tips for anyone who is considering the practice. With agricultural land in high demand...