Combining solar panels and lamb grazing increases land productivity

Land productivity could be greatly increased by combining sheep grazing and solar energy production on the same land, according to new research by Oregon State University scientists.

This is believed to be the first study to investigate livestock production under agrivoltaic systems, where solar energy production is combined with agricultural production, such as planting agricultural crops or grazing animals.

The researchers compared lamb growth and pasture production in pastures with solar panels and traditional open pastures. They found less overall but higher quality forage in the solar pastures and that lambs raised in each pasture type gained similar amounts of weight. The solar panels, of course, provide value in terms of energy production, which increases the overall productivity of the land.

Solar panels also benefit the welfare of the lambs by providing shade, which allows the animals to preserve energy. Also, lamb grazing alleviates the need to manage plant growth under the solar panels through herbicides or regular mowing, which require extra labour and costs.

Source : https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210429123402.htm