Sunny Pastures

When you think of solar panels, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Probably not sheep.

However, that was not the case for one Ontario couple. As they slowly outgrew their 40-hectare sheep farm in Kinburn, ON, they began looking for other pastures to house their growing flock. However, farmland is incredibly expensive and competitive within the Ottawa city limits. While driving past a nearby solar farm, they noticed that overgrown grasses were beginning to obstruct the panels. Such unwanted vegetation can block sunlight and damage the panels. So, on a whim, they Googled the company who ran the site and made a call. The result was an unprecedented partnership between the farms.

Referred to as "vegetation abatement", this process sees the sheep munching away on “tall grasses, weeds, Manitoba maple alders, vines and raspberry canes” obstructing the panels, according to this CBC News article. Every few days, they are moved to another patch of grass with the help of their herding dog, Dash. The results are well-fed sheep, herbicide-free weed control, and a much smaller carbon footprint as the solar farm powers 7,000 homes.


Photo by Kiki Falconer on Unsplash

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