Silicon Ranch Corp., Shell’s U.S. solar platform, has launched Regenerative Energy, a third-party-certified product that combines clean electricity generation with carbon sequestration, ecosystem restoration and rural economic revitalization.
To develop the program, the independent solar power producer partnered with regenerative ranchers and local farmers who are working to deploy holistic land-use practices on solar farms across the country. Adaptively managed grazing animals, diverse native plants, pollinator habitat, and wildlife work together to revitalize soil, enhance biodiversity and resilient ecosystems, sequester carbon in the soil, and strengthen rural economies, explains Silicon Ranch.
Silicon Ranch has begun implementing regenerative agriculture practices on operating projects in Colorado, Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi, with a plan to transition the balance of its portfolio over time. The company is integrating Regenerative Energy standards into designs for projects in its construction pipeline and is scheduled to bring more than 1 GW of solar capacity online over the next three years.
Silicon Ranch’s first new-build projects designed with the new standards are currently under construction in southwest Georgia. The company is partnering with Will Harris of White Oak Pastures to deploy the standards across more than 3,700 acres in the region.
“White Oak Pastures is honored to help Silicon Ranch transform renewable energy production into regenerative energy production,” comments Harris, owner of White Oak Pastures. “Developing the management system that naturally draws down millions of tons of atmospheric carbon, on hundreds of thousands of acres of land, while enriching dozens of impoverished local communities and helping to meet the significant food demands of the future is noble work. I am grateful to be a part of helping Silicon Ranch perfect the protocol to do it.”
Through a partnership with nonprofit organization Restore the Earth Foundation, Silicon Ranch is leading the development of science- and research-based standards to measure and verify the relationship between regenerative land-use practices on solar farms and corresponding environmental, social and economic outcomes.
To help develop and execute its vision, Silicon Ranch has hired Michael Baute as its director of Regenerative Energy and land management. Baute brings more than 15 years of land management experience to the company.
“Regenerative Energy is on the leading edge of an emerging global trend to operate in alignment with regenerative principles, which are resident in nature,” says Baute. “Silicon Ranch is proud to invite our colleagues in the solar industry to join us in this meaningful endeavor. Together, we have the opportunity to positively impact millions of acres of land across the U.S. and around the world as the solar land base grows.”