Solar panels in pastureland do not significantly reduce lamb production….but great improve farmer’s income!
With the prospect of ever more solar panels spreading across grazing land this recent American study is highly relevant to land use, combating climate change and substantial community development.
A just-published study with lambs and solar panels was carried out in 2019 and 2020 at Oregon State’s campus in Corvallis. Findings included:
- The lambs gained almost the same amount of weight in the two pasture types in both years.
- Over the two years, solar pastures produced 38% less forage than open pastures.
- Overall, the return from grazing was $1,046 per hectare (one hectare equals 2.47 acres) per year in open pastures and $1,029 per hectare per year in pastures with solar panels.
“The overall return is about the same, and that doesn’t take into account the energy the solar panels are producing,” said Serkan Ates, an assistant professor in the Oregon State’s Department of Animal and Rangeland Sciences and a co-author of the paper. “And if we designed the system to maximize production we would likely get even better numbers.”