The partnership delivers economic and environmental benefits for all partners involved, including Alight, the shepherd and the sheep, as well as the community. The shepherd’s sheep graze the land, while Alight saves resources associated with maintaining the grass surrounding the solar panels. At the same time, the solar panels harvest approximately 8 GWh of clean energy per year, which is purchased by Nolato via electricity trading partner Bixia, and contributes to Sweden’s ambitious clean energy target to reach 100% renewable electricity production by 2040.
Combining both agriculture and solar power generation — called agrivoltaics — is a burgeoning innovation that optimizes the productivity and efficiency of land use. Because of the shading the solar panels provide, sheep that graze in a solar park are overall happier and healthier. In fact, one study* showed that sheep grazing in a solar park spent 70% of their time under the shade of solar panels and grazed 8% more than sheep in open fields. On top of that, the nitrogen content of grass in solar parks was 172% higher due to shade and soil moisture, making it more nourishing and digestible for the sheep.
Alight has sheep-proofed the Åhus solar park to ensure it is a safe environment for both the sheep and the shepherd, including education on how to operate in an electrical producing facility for the shepherd.
Harald Överholm, CEO at Alight, says: “We’re proud to introduce sheep into our solar park in Åhus to benefit the sheep and their shepherd, Alight, and the broader community. Agrivoltaics is an exciting space and we’re keen to explore more opportunities to introduce it in our other parks.”
*Kampherbeek, Emma W., et al. “A Preliminary Investigation of the Effect of Solar Panels and Rotation Frequency on the Grazing Behavior of Sheep (Ovis Aries) Grazing Dormant Pasture.” Applied Animal Behaviour Science (2022): 105799.
At Alight, we’re on a mission to kick carbon off the grid by helping energy-intensive businesses switch to solar. We develop, own and operate onsite and offsite solar projects across Europe and sell the clean energy to businesses at a low, fixed cost backed by a power purchase agreement (PPA), always independent of government funding or subsidies. By 2030, we aim to have an installed capacity of at least 5 GW, paving the way for a more sustainable future.