Agrivoltaics & solar grazing
Agriculture and renewable energy, sharing land. This is Responsible Solar in action.
Solar farms can grow more than electricity. Agrivoltaics (agriculture + “photovoltaics”) places crops or livestock underneath and between rows of solar panels. While researchers are exploring fruit and vegetable crops, the most common and successful forms of agrivoltaics at solar projects currently are sheep grazing and bee keeping.
If you are interested in learning more about solar grazing opportunities with Lightsource bp in the USA, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Solar grazing is bringing new hope to America’s farmers
The solar industry is helping revive sheep farming in America. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the U.S. imports more than half of its sheep products: mainly meat and wool. That wasn’t always the case. At peak, there were more than 50 million head of sheep in the USA. Today, estimates put the number around 5 million.
As America’s family farmers and ranchers face increasing economic stress, opportunities to partner with solar farms are providing new income streams and in many cases, the ability to expand their operations. Even better, solar shepherds are fighting climate change and promoting healthy landscapes while they maintain vegetation under and around the solar panels.
This video tells the story through the voices of real American farm families raising sheep on solar farms.
Agrivoltaics is a triple-win for clean energy, healthy land and family farms
Research has shown that managed grazing simultaneously works to improve soil health and foster healthy ecosystems while managing vegetation around the solar panels through natural, effective means. As the sheep graze, they trample waste and old plant matter into the earth. As the organic material decomposes, it fertilizes and rejuvenates the soil.
Solar grazing helps strengthen rural economies, too. Grazing sheep at a solar farm contributes dairy, meat, and wool to the locally sourced, renewable farm market. Contracts for grazing services provide farmers with a reliable source of new income, on top of what they earn via products they produce. Farmers who are leasing their own land to the solar project may see as many as three revenue streams from their land: lease payments, grazing contract and agricultural products. Increased, diversified revenue and access to productive land may help a farm increase its resilience, or even grow.
Free-to-use images and more good news about solar
Agrivoltaics Research & Resources
Partner: American Solar Grazing Association
Study: Managed sheep grazing can improve soil quality and carbon sequestration at solar photovoltaic sites
Study: Examining the Potential for Agricultural Benefits from Pollinator Habitat at Solar Facilities in the United States
Factsheet: Solar & Agricultural Land Use
Solar grazing in the media
In the news: Sheep are the solar industry’s lawn mowers of choice, Wall Street Journal
Multiuse solar at Lightsource bp
May 16, 2023
Supporting sheep and local biodiversity at Elm Branch and Briar Creek solar farms
Agrivoltaics in Texas
Apr 13, 2023
Researching the benefits of pollinator conservation at Bellflower Solar
Habitat enhancement in Indiana