Advancing the Future of Renewables

Agrivoltaics Pilot Program

At National Grid Renewables, we understand what matters in rural communities, and we’re committed to supporting landowners and the agricultural way of life – which includes caring for the land on which our projects are hosted. We want to ensure that we continue to explore different strategies for maximizing the use of the land on which our solar projects are built – ensuring the greatest value for the communities in which they are hosted. 

Respecting the Deep Value of the Land: Experimenting with Agrivoltaics

Man standing in front of solar panels and sheep

One of the shared values that drives us here at National Grid Renewables is a deep respect for the land we work on. 

Agrivoltaics is a sustainable and innovative approach that combines agricultural practices with the generation of solar energy. This integration allows the land below the solar panels to be utilized in various ways to optimize land use and promote sustainable practices that contribute to a cleaner environment.

Solar projects themselves provide a much-needed rest for the soil – improving soil health over time so that it can one day be returned to agricultural use. When building our solar projects, incorporating agrivoltaics is an important consideration for how best to make use of the land in a sustainable way.

Sheep Grazing Pilot Program at Prairie Wolf Solar

Our Prairie Wolf Solar project site in Coles County, Illinois welcomed 87 sheep to its grounds in the fall of 2023 thanks to a successful partnership with a neighbor and local shepherd. The flock is part of a months-long pilot exercise to determine the feasibility of incorporating sheep grazing as a vegetation management strategy into other solar projects.

Factors we are examining as part of the pilot include, but are not limited to:

  • Durability of flock
  • Appropriate seed mix(es)
  • Ratio of sheep per acre
  • Cost comparison

Finding New Ways to Support the Prairie Wolf Community

Sheep in between solar panels

When we first started construction on our Prairie Wolf Solar Farm in Illinois, we were the new kid on the block. As the first renewable energy project in Coles County, we had a lot to prove: To show landowners that we were a good partner and to show the wider community we truly care — that we practice the farmer-founded values we preach.

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