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Solar Grazing

Solar grazing is the practice of combining solar panels with animal husbandry. Examples include grazing sheep or constructing apiaries.

Sheep: Solar sites present an excellent location for grazing sheep. Sheep and solar panels have a mutually beneficial relationship. The panels provide shelter and shade for the animals and in turn, the sheep graze and reduce the need for lawn maintenance or overgrowth. Sheep enjoy eating many types of weeds and invasive species that can overgrow and cover panels, and are well suited for grazing underneath the panels where it is more labor intensive to mechanically mow.

Poultry: Outdoor grazing for poultry is another possibility. The space between arrays makes it possible to meet the CAP (Common Agriculture Policy) specifications for an AB (organic) label with 30% shade provided by the panels by adopting an agroforestry model.

Apiaries: Through the planting of native grasses and flowers, the site can not only provide pasture for grazing animals, but also for bees and other pollinators that are essential to agricultural production.

Other benefits of planting native plants include increasing biodiversity & habitat, capturing & filtering storm water, improving yields of nearby fields and building topsoil.

More than half of native bee species in North America have seen their numbers drop sharply since 2005, with almost 25 percent now at risk of extinction. Installing beehives among solar panels is an easy-to-maintain value-add to a solar project.

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