Solar grazing: meadow biodiversity + green energy

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Kelly M O’Brien
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Solar grazing: meadow biodiversity + green energy

Post by Kelly M O’Brien »

I’ve recently learned about ‘solar grazing’ (the use of sheep, etc. to graze solar farms) and am wondering if anyone here has experience with the practice or has seen it in operation? While not as beautiful as a habitat on its own, it appears to be an interesting option for increasing biodiversity while producing green energy. I also wonder if it’s a pathway for farmers to experiment with land use.

This report looks at biodiversity in solar farming: https://solargrazing.org/wp-content/upl ... ersity.pdf

And there’s more info about solar grazing here: https://solargrazing.org/international/

If anyone has experience (pro or con) or info on this I’d love to hear from you. I’d also be interested in a site visit, if possible, as part of my research.
Kelly M O’Brien
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Harriet
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Re: Solar grazing: meadow biodiversity + green energy

Post by Harriet »

I have no experience of this but I was driving down the M5 today and happened to notice sheep grazing in just such a field - so someone's doing it somewhere between Bristol and Exeter! I don't recall where I was when I noticed it, just that it was noteworthy. I'm also considering looking into solar panels for our very poor quality, south facing fields but haven't started researching it yet.
Peter Brown
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Re: Solar grazing: meadow biodiversity + green energy

Post by Peter Brown »

Hi, we (Yealm Community Energy, a Community Benefit Society) are associated with 2 local solar farms, the profits from which are put into a community fund to address the climate and environmental emergency at local level.

We have grazed the first one and are planning to graze the second. After ground preparation the area was sown with diverse wild flower seed and grasses, including tussocky grasses around the margins for ground nesting birds. Nesting boxes (birds, bats and dormice) have also been put up in marginal trees. But grazing can only take place in winter, otherwise the sheep just graze everything down to soil level and no flowing or seed setting can take place. The sheep density also has to be 10/acre or below. We also have bee hives on site.
Peter Brown
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Joseph Clarke
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Re: Solar grazing: meadow biodiversity + green energy

Post by Joseph Clarke »

Hi Peter,
Who grazes you solar fields?
I have a small flock if native breed sheep and I am interested in ecological grazing management. I live inHolbeton.
BW
Joe
Peter Brown
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Re: Solar grazing: meadow biodiversity + green energy

Post by Peter Brown »

Whose sheep? The land is rented from the farmer, and his sheep are used for grazing.
Bee-wild
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Re: Solar grazing: meadow biodiversity + green energy

Post by Bee-wild »

There's a positive knock-on effect from this - the profits from these sheep-grazed solar farms feed straight back into small community projects like ours (Bee-wild in Yealmpton) which has received 2 separate grants from Yealm Community Energy to help fund our wildflower meadow, native hedgerows, community orchard, swift boxes and various pollinator friendly planting schemes
PerrysPasture
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Re: Solar grazing: meadow biodiversity + green energy

Post by PerrysPasture »

We have a small flock of Greyface Dartmoor (18) i have a 2 acre field i could close up for the winter , could you advise the best way to seed for good results.
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