Solar Grazing: A New Income Stream for Livestock Producers

Utility-scale solar arrays may cover 3 million acres across the US by 2030, according to the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL). This is causing tension with farmers and farmland advocates, as the panels are often sited on good ag land, displacing current production. One solution is to restrict solar developments from being installed on farmland. But there are other solutions worth pursuing too. Most large-scale solar arrays are located in rural areas where economies are hurting and farmer numbers are dwindling. Therein lies an opportunity for a new income stream for farmers, a way to keep the land under all those solar panels in agricultural use, and a strategy to solve the problem of vegetation management for solar developers. Solar grazing is the use of livestock to maintain vegetation under solar panels. It is just one practice under the larger umbrella of “agrivoltaics”: combining agricultural and renewable energy production on the same piece of land. Other agrivoltaic practices include producing hay, vegetables, berries, and honey at solar sites. We are only going to focus on solar grazing, and over the next 2 articles, we’ll offer best practices, profiles of successful solar graziers, and resources for getting started. Why would a solar developer choose to work with you rather than just hiring a landscaper? Reduced cost is one motivation to hire a grazier over a m

All the grazing management tips you need

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