Sheep in search of a solar plant

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From pv magazine Germany

pv magazine‘s readers are extremely active, either by commenting on articles or making inquiries to the editorial team. We are happy about that, of course, but we do not always have the capacity to adequately meet all requests.

We recently received a very peculiar request from Johann Nesgen, the owner of a sheep farming company in the German region of Brandenburg. “We are a large sheep farming company with more than 6,000 animals and are always looking for pastures for them. Is there a way through your magazine to offer PV plants operators a sustainable and thorough method of grazing their areas with sheep?”

This idea is of course not new. However, we are not a marketplace – we are a trade publication. That is why we asked the company how it conceived of this idea and what conditions needed to be met.

“The areas of solar power plants provide shade for the animals, which is an advantage in high heat,” explained Nesgen. The company already has some experience with this, as its animals have already grazed at solar parks in the municipalities of Oranienburg and Kyritz. The advantage for the company is that the PV plants are already fenced, which creates significant cost savings.

Regarding the conditions that must be met so that the sheep can graze, Nesgen explained that they should be close to other pastures. Transporting the animals is complex and expensive, but Nesgen does not completely exclude this option. It should be discussed on a case-by-case basis, he said. But this is only worthwhile if the areas of the fenced-in PV systems are sufficiently large, he added.

The company is searching for grassland, not wasteland. Technically, the bottom edge of the modules should be at least 70 centimeters above the ground, so that the animals can pass under them, Nesgen specified. In addition, the cables should be firmly attached so that no snares or loops will endanger the animals.