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Sheep Wanted for "Solar Grazing"

Sheep Wanted for "Solar Grazing"

Solar farms becoming pastures for sheep to graze is beginning to lift off in Indiana as the first Indiana Solar Grazing Seminar to try and further the launch is scheduled June 6th at the Jasper County Fairgrounds.

The Indiana Sheep Association and the Northern Indiana Public Service Company are hosting the free event. Current sheep producers along with people just starting out or interested in having their own herds are welcome to attend at no cost.

NIPSCO plans to have three new solar projects operating before the end of the year to produce electricity to power more than 270,000 homes.

The seminar will include shuttling people to the site a short distance away to help them in the processing of deciding their level of interest. ISA spokesman Emma Hopkins-O’Brien said farmers will be paid by NIPSCO for allowing their sheep to graze on their property.

She said sheep are used already in states like California to eat the grass and other plants growing around and beneath solar panels.

Hopkins-O’Brien said paying sheep farmers is much less expensive than hiring people to perform the difficult task of keeping the grass cut and looking nice on land containing a large number of solar panels.

Hopkins-O’Brien said sheep are ideal animals to use for maintaining such properties because they’re not as strong or weigh as much as cows, who could damage or knock over solar panels while grazing.

Goats, who are used to clear mountainsides of heavy plant growth, tend to eat wiring and jump on the solar panels. Without proper lawn care, the growth would cover the solar panels and hinder their ability to collect energy from the sun.

Photo Credit: istock-GlobalP


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Categories: Indiana, Energy, Livestock, Goats & Sheep

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