Academic Venture Fund - 2019

Grazing Sheep on Solar Array Sites to Boost Pollinator Habitat and Sequester Soil Carbon

Sheep grazing in fron to solar panels

Growing commitments to renewable energy indicate that the land used for solar sites will increase dramatically over the next years, with projections of up to 40,000 acres in New York State alone. The vegetation in these modified landscapes must be controlled to prevent solar panel shading. Grazing with sheep is an efficient, cost-effective way to control the vegetation and keep the land in agricultural production. This project will document how sheep grazing may influence pollinator habitat and sequestration of soil carbon, and will provide sound recommendations for best management practices by farmers and solar site operators.

Investigators: Michael Thonney, Johannes Lehmann, Scott McArt

(Photo Credit: Lewis Fox)