DSD Renewables Employs Sheep and Pigs to Maintain Rocky Terrain at Virginia Solar Energy Site

June 25, 2024
According to ESS, the maintenance costs of grazing are 60% of what it would cost to mow the same acreage once

DSD Renewables (DSD) has partnered with Energy Support Services (ESS), an O&M and Asset Management support provider, to launch an agrivoltaics solution for managing vegetation at DSD’s solar energy site in Winchester, Virginia.

“Agrivoltaics is a very cost-efficient and innovative vegetation management strategy that allows solar to be installed in areas that might not have been considered otherwise,” said Conrad Gross, ESS GM.

DSD’s 1.8 MW ground-mounted solar project is located on 7 acres of rocky terrain and exposed stone, which made mowing and maintaining the site under the arrays impossible due to the risk of solar panel and mowing equipment damage.

To solve this, ESS reached out to Katahdin Acres, a member of the American Solar Grazing Association, to employ sheep and pigs to manage the solar site’s vegetation through grazing. According to ESS, the maintenance costs of grazing are 60% of what it would cost to mow the same acreage once.

ESS, DSD Renewables, and Katahdin Acres all collaborated to address any concerns from residents in the local community about the animals’ welfare, including what they would eat and drink, whether shelters would be made available, and how they would be protected from wildlife.

“Having sheep and pigs help us maintain the grounds while giving them a safe place to freely roam is truly a win-win, and further demonstrates our collective commitment to deploying innovative solutions that reduce our projects’ carbon footprint,” said David Eisenbud, Senior Director of Origination at DSD.

About the Author

Breanna Sandridge, Senior Editor

Breanna Sandridge is senior editor for EnergyTech and Microgrid Knowledge, both part of the energy group at Endeavor Business Media.

Prior to that, Breanna was managing editor for Machinery Lubrication and Reliable Plant magazines, both part of Noria Corp. She has two years experience covering the industrial sector.

She also is a 2021 graduate of Northeastern State University (Oklahoma) with a Bachelor's in English.