Solar panels on farms make sheep happier.
“Agrovoltaics” promises to be the future of the countryside and of energy. This mix of solar energy and agriculture has gained momentum in recent years, as the idea of sustainable agriculture and the importance of renewable energies has been reinforced in society.
As we already know, installing solar panels has many advantages, such as a significant reduction of the carbon footprint because it is a clean energy that does not generate greenhouse gases or pollution during its use. In addition, they can be installed anywhere, such as on land dedicated to crops or livestock, thus creating a “win-win” situation.
This synergy obviously creates a greater use of the land in a way that makes the number of hectares for both uses profitable. A 2019 study in the journal Nature claimed that with just 1% of arable land, we would have enough energy to offset global energy demand.
But why is it especially favorable on land dedicated to livestock farming?
The deployment of the panels may increase animal welfare, surprising as this may seem. According to the Word Economic Forum, researchers attached data trackers to 80 sheep. This research concluded that sheep in fields with solar panels spent 70% of their time sheltered under the solar panels, grazed 8% more than sheep studied in open fields, and
They lay down to rest 71% more!
In the solar panel fields, the nitrogen content of the grass was as high as 172%, which means it is more nutritious and easier to digest. This factor can be attributed to the fact that the shade provided by the panels prevents the grass from drying out, according to the source: New Scientist.
In addition, sheep are the perfect animal for this synergy, as they are small enough to slip between the panels. They help prevent weeds from growing around the machinery and don’t chew through the wires.
Research like this is critical because, although the energy transition depends on the expansion of solar energy, one of the most common problems is the lack of available land.
How to maintain cleanliness in these large esplanades?
In Sacema we have our Solar Panel cleaner. A hydraulic arm coupled to a tractor, with a brush incorporated in a system this product allows the cleaning of large solar farms in a practical and safe way increasing the profitability and efficiency of both the land and the panels.
For more information about this or any of our products, please do not hesitate to contact us.