Soltage acquires 28 MW solar project at Cincinnati Zoo from Melink Solar Development

Sept. 21, 2022
The agrivoltaic project includes a partnership with a local sheep farmer to use sheep grazing for vegetation management under the solar projects

Power producer Soltage has announced the close of a 28 MW solar project, which is under construction on Cincinnati Zoo-owned land in Ohio. The firm acquired this project from Melink Solar Development.

It is the firm’s first project to use sheep grazing to manage the vegetation underneath the solar projects that will help maintain soil health and restore soil carbon. Soltage has partnered with local sheep farmer Ohio Solar Grazing for this agrivoltaic project. Agrivoltaics is the use of land for both agriculture and solar photovoltaic energy generation. It’s also sometimes referred to as agrisolar, dual use solar, low impact solar. Solar grazing is a variation where livestock graze in and around solar panels.

"This unique agrivoltaic project, built against the backdrop of the historic Cincinnati Zoo, marks the first site in our portfolio to implement sheep grazing to maintain the land, giving us a chance to partner with the local community in new ways," said Jesse Grossman, CEO of Soltage. "We're proud to expand clean energy in Ohio and support American businesses in their transition to decarbonize operations."

"Using the Cincinnati Zoo's land for clean energy generation is in perfect alignment with its vision of conveying knowledge, conserving nature and serving the community," said Mark Fisher, Vice President of Facilities, Planning, and Sustainability at Cincinnati Zoo. "We're thrilled to host this project that creates opportunities for education about solar energy, implements the restorative benefits of sheep grazing for soil health, all while creating new jobs."

Additionally, two power purchase agreements have been signed with Calpine Energy Solutions so electricity from both the phases of the project can be used to meet its customer’s electricity requirements.