C2 Energy Capital LLC, a rapidly growing investor in renewable energy and storage assets, is scaling up its solar sheep program for vegetation maintenance after a highly successful pilot program launched at a Jacksonville, Fla., solar power generation site.
The 7-MW solar project is one of the power suppliers for JEA’s SolarMax program aimed at offering more clean energy options to its commercial customers. C2 Energy Capital expects to reduce its vegetation maintenance costs across its land-based solar power plants through the new program. Additional benefits of C2 Energy Capital’s solar sheep program include providing new economic opportunities for regional sheep farmers and further lowering the company’s carbon footprint. The company expects to rollout the new program across ten solar projects totaling over 79 megawatts.
“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,” said Steve McInall, JEA, VP of Energy and Water Planning.
In early 2018, C2 Energy Capital began the test program with a regional sheep farmer to control ground vegetation on the site. Between 80 and 100 sheep graze the solar farm daily. The committed sheep crew work, eat and sleep on the site 24 hours a day. Due to its more rural location, the sheep are protected by a Great Pyrenees guardian 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,“ said 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 excellent pollinating habitat for insects – particularly bees whose population decline is widely reported in the media.
— Solar Builder magazine