Farmers and ranchers, if you’re looking to increase your energy independence or to develop a second stream of income, you may consider installing ground-mounted solar panels on your property.
Why is that?
Because these panels work best when placed in open fields, unobstructed by buildings or trees.
And you may have land that checks this box.
In fact, grazing grounds are a perfect host for solar panels.
Though the question for many is whether it’s safe to allow animals to graze around solar installations. . . .
It can be, but there are some things you need to keep in mind as you plan your solar project.
Considerations for Grazing around Ground-Mounted Solar Panels
No matter how large or small your solar panel system is, it will consist of:
- The racking and mounting system
- Various cable
- Wiring components
All of these parts could potentially create safety concerns for grazing animals.
Also, animals could damage the parts, which is costly and could create a fire hazard.
Some important considerations include:
- Electrical Component Placements
- Exposed cables and wires are potentially dangerous for the animals, the system, and your property.
- When installing your ground-mounted solar panels, it’s important to keep the wiring out of reach of any wild or domesticated animal that can access the area around and under the panels.
- Solar Panel Height
- Often, panels are installed close to the ground. Therefore, there’s the potential for larger animals damage the panels when they attempt to graze around or rest underneath them.
- Leaving more space between the units and the ground reduces the likelihood that cattle, pigs, goats, or alpacas will damage the system.
- Grazing Animal Choices
- Some animals better co-exist with ground-mounted solar panels.
- Laid-back and smaller grazers — such as sheep and poultry — are good options. They are much less likely to get into trouble while grazing or resting around your panels.
- On the other hand, goats can be rambunctious and may attempt to jump on the units. They also will chew on just about anything and love to head-butt.
- These factors make them less-than-ideal candidates. Research has shown that cows are compatible if the panels are raised high enough off the ground (7-feet off the ground will do).
With careful planning and consideration, you can combine animal grazing and ground-mounted solar panels.
In fact, many farmers and ranchers are creating alternative income through solar grazing.
Possibilities for Animal Grazing on Solar Farms
Solar grazing is the practice of combining solar farms and grazing livestock.
In doing so, the landowners can generate income from the solar farm while also maintaining land productivity.
Sheep are most commonly used because their grazing habits reduce the need for pesticides and decrease time and labor spent on mechanical management.
However, it is possible to utilize other grazing livestock, as long as you weigh the above-mentioned considerations.
Ground-Mounted Solar Panels for Your Farm or Ranch
At Unbound Solar®, we’re committed to helping farmers and ranchers move to renewable energy while maintaining their primary source of income.
We’re here to assist you in finding the right ground-mounted solar panels for your energy needs.
Get in touch with us today, and we’ll help you lower your optional costs ASAP.