C2 Energy Capital LLC, an investor of renewable energy and storage assets, is scaling up its solar sheep program for vegetation maintenance after a successful pilot at a solar project in Jacksonville, Fla.
The 7 MW solar project is one of the power suppliers for Florida utility JEA’s SolarMax program, aimed at offering more clean energy options for JEA’s commercial customers.
“JEA appreciates the ongoing pursuit of supporting local economies while lowering our collective carbon footprint and overall costs, so C2 Energy Capital’s solar sheep program fits well with our principals and goals,” says Steve McInall, JEA’s vice president of energy and water planning.
Now, under the next phase, C2 Energy Capital expects to roll out the solar sheep program across 10 solar projects totaling over 79 MW. The company expects to reduce vegetation maintenance costs, provide new economic opportunities for regional sheep farmers and further lower its carbon footprint.
In early 2018, C2 Energy Capital began the pilot program with a regional sheep farmer to control ground vegetation on-site. Between 80 and 100 sheep graze the solar farm daily. The animals work, eat and sleep on the site 24 hours a day, protected by a Great Pyrenees dog who lives among the flock.
“In the next phase, we’ll scale up our solar sheep program to projects covering over 300 acres in three states and drive down ground maintenance costs. It’s a win-win situation that makes good business sense for everyone involved,“ says Michael Howell, director of asset management for C2 Energy Capital.
C2 Energy Capital is also currently in a test program with site vegetation management through the use of wildflower plantings to limit mowing while providing a pollinating habitat for insects.