Shear Genius: Solar Energy Meets Sheep Grazing
Using a single plot of land to both generate renewable solar energy and to support local agriculture? That’s not just smart — that’s bahh-rilliant!
We’re thrilled to introduce you to some of our newest “employees” — two herds of sheep grazing on our Catan Solar and BT Cooke Solar projects in Texas.
In February 2023, Adapture Renewables introduced a herd of about 125-220 sheep to its Catan Solar project, a 13.15 MWdc solar installation in Runge, Texas. Shortly after, in July 2023, a herd of 200-400 sheep were welcomed at the BT Cooke Solar project, an 81.36 MWdc installation located in Gainesville, TX.
But why sheep? The answer lies in the multitude of benefits they bring to the two projects and the surrounding ecosystem. By allowing the sheep to graze the land, we are efficiently controlling vegetation, significantly reducing the need for traditional mowing and fuel consumption for equipment. This dual-purpose approach of maximizing the use of land for both clean energy generation and agriculture is called agrivoltaics, and it doubles the benefits to the community, the landowners, and the environment.
“We see sheep grazing and other forms of agrivoltaics as an important and growing aspect of the clean energy transition, where land use practices on our clean energy developments are as sustainable as the electricity we generate,” our Vice President of Asset Management, Jace Fabrycki, explains. “By introducing sheep grazing on our projects, we are demonstrating how clean energy and agriculture can coexist harmoniously.”
Ranching has been a major Texas industry for nearly three centuries. There are 3.8 million sheep in the U.S. and approximately 600,000 in Texas, where they contribute roughly $140 million to the state.
Introducing the sheep to our developments was truly a collaborative effort with all of the local stakeholders in each solar farm, and the positive impact became apparent very quickly. In the future, we look forward to doing more in the area of agrivoltaics to create long-lasting benefits within the communities we operate in.
While we’ve begun our sheep grazing ventures in Texas, we aim to explore the integration of sheep and other forms of agrivoltaics into our solar projects nationwide. We hope that our initiative will set a precedent for other solar developments to create multi-purpose solutions for clean energy that empower local agricultural communities.
Adapture Renewables, Inc.