Austrian solar farm deploys sheep to assist with rewilding efforts and to mow grass

An Austrian solar farm has deployed sheep to assist with rewilding efforts and to mow the grass around the panels.

The Vienna-based Schafflerhofstrasse PV plant has brought in 90 sheep to trim the 12-hectares of grass around the solar panels.

The solar panels, whose electrical components are installed in a sheep-safe manner, are higher off the ground than normal enabling the panels to also serve as shelter for the animals when it rains or shines.

The site, which was previously a gravel dump for the city, was prepared with a special seed mixture prior to introduction of the sheep. 

It is intended that the sheep will contribute to rewilding by providing natural fertiliser and carrying seeds and pollen in their wool.

The sheep approximately take around five weeks to trim the whole field, carrying seeds and natural fertiliser over the plot. During the winter, the animals will be accomodated in a nearby barn.

A prime example of an environmentally friendly and space-efficient project, the solar sheep farm is expected to produce over 12-gigawatt hours of clean energy powering 4,900 Viennese households, and save 4,200 tons of CO2 annually.

The solar sheep farm, created by Wein Energie, is one of several agrivoltaic systems in place in Austria.

Michael Strebl, Chairman of the Wien Energie management board, said: “The interaction between the environment and technology is crucial. This is an absolute showcase project here, open-space systems can be designed in an environmentally friendly way!”

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. 

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