A solar farm needs to be mowed every now and then. What better way to do that than using a flock of sheep as natural grass mowers? Because for both the sheep and nature, it’s a win-win situation, according to shepherd Rob Brummel. He took us along for an afternoon and tells you about his work on the solar parks.
Rob Brummel of Natuurbegrazing de Monden (https://www.natuurbegrazingdemonden.nl/) takes care of the green maintenance of nature and heath areas, green areas within municipalities and, since a few years, solar parks with his sheep. The first steps towards this were taken during the realisation of Solar park Veendam in the Netherlands. “After we had cleared the plot of land for the solar park to be built for the Municipality of Veendam, we were approached by Chint Solar whether we could also work together in maintaining it,” says Brummel.
Therefore, a pilot was first carried out in which the welfare and behaviour of the sheep was key: do they focus on grazing the solar farm and not on the cables or vulnerable equipment? The sheep passed with flying colours. For Brummel, that was the starting signal for further cooperation. He has since deployed his natural grass mowers at several solar parks realised by Chint Solar. Thanks to the natural grazing by his sheep, almost no machine maintenance is needed anymore.
Mini nature reserve
For the sheep, Brummel says the solar farm is ‘a paradise’: “They have space here, they have peace and quiet here, they can walk in the sun, eat a variety of food and lie out of the wind and in the shade.” But not only the sheep enjoy the solar farm, nature also benefits from their presence. “It is a great advantage to maintain it this way. Just by using sheep there is a lot of variation in the crop, both in height and composition. That in turn attracts insects, bees and butterflies. That really is a win-win situation for nature. You could therefore call a solar farm a ‘mini nature reserve’.”
Look behind the scenes
Curious about Rob Brummel’s work at the solar farm? In the video, he explains how natural grazing by sheep on solar parks works.