Claim: Sheep Produce Better Fleece When Grazed Under Solar Panels

Essay by Eric Worrall

Farmers whose pastures are covered with solar panels have claimed an increase in wool production. But perhaps nobody has explained to farmers that if anything goes wrong their pastures could be contaminated with toxic heavy metals leached out of the solar panels, as the panels are eroded by the wind and rain.

Solar farm trial shows improved fleece on merino sheep grazed under panels

ABC Rural / By Hannah Jose and Olivia Calver

Sheep grazing under solar panels at farms in NSW’s Central West have produced better wool and more of it in the four years since the projects began, according to growers.

Key points:

  • Sheep grazing on solar farm trials shows an increase in wool quantity and quality
  • There are calls for more research on the co-location of agriculture and renewable energy
  • A NSW government review of agriculture and renewable energy has received 100 submissions 

Local graziers have labelled the set-up a “complete win-win”, with the sheep helping to keep grass and weeds down so as not to obscure the panels.

In turn, the panels provided shade for the sheep and grass, and helped prevent the soil from drying out.

Wool broker Graeme Ostini, who has been grazing merino wethers at a solar farm near Parkes in a trial with the Parkes Show Society, said he had seen the benefits of running the animals under panels.

He said his sheep were slightly lighter stocked than the average in the district but were cutting an “amazing” amount of wool.

Read more: https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2022-05-30/solar-farm-grazing-sheep-agriculture-renewable-energy-review/101097364

This claimed extra wool production, even if true, might come at a significant cost. According to a 2020 study, solar panels can leach dangerous heavy metal toxins, which could potentially contaminate the wool and meat produced by any sheep grazing under the panels.

Metal dissolution from end-of-life solar photovoltaics in real landfill leachate versus synthetic solutions: One-year study

July 2020

Waste Management 114:351-361

DOI:10.1016/j.wasman.2020.07.004

Project: End-of-life Solar Photovoltaics

Preeti Nain
Indian Institute of Technology Delhi

Arun Kumar
Indian Institute of Technology Delhi

To investigate the after end-of-life (EoL) concerns of solar panels, four commercially available photovoltaics of 15 15cm2 size in broken and unbroken conditions were exposed to three synthetic solutions of pH 4, 7, 10 and one real municipal solid waste (MSW) landfill leachate for one-year. Encapsulant degradation and release, probability of metals exceeding their surface water limit, and change in pollution index of leachate after dumping of solar panels were investigated. Rainwater stimulating solution was found to be predominant for metal leaching from silicon-based photovoltaics, with Ag, Pb and Cr being released to 683.26 mg/L (26.9%), 23.37 mg/L (17.6%), and 14.96 mg/L (13.05%) respectively. Copper indium gallium (de) selenide (CIGS) photovoltaic was found to be least vulnerable in various conditions with negligible release of In, Mo, Se and Ga with value ranging between 0.2 and 1 mg/L (0.30%-0.74%). In contrast, minimal metals were released to MSW leachate compared to other leaching solutions for all photovoltaics. Positive correlation was observed between encapsulant release and metal dissolution with a maximum encapsulant release in silicon-based photovoltaics in rainwater conditions. Probability of exceedance of leached metals to their respective surface water limits for Al (multi and mono crystalline-silicon (c-Si)), Ag (amorphous photovoltaic) and In (CIGS) has shown the maximum exceedance of 92.31%. The regression analysis indicated that conditions of the modules and pH of the leaching solution play significant roles in the leaching of metals. The increase in leachate contamination potential after one-year of photovoltaics dumping was found to be 12.02%, 10.90%, 15.26%, 54.19% for amorphous, CIGS, mono and multi c-Si photovoltaics, respectively. Overall, the maximum metal release observed in the present study is 30% of the initial amount under the most stressful conditions, which suggests that short-term leaching studies with millimeter sized sample pieces do not represent the realistic dumping scenarios. Keywords: End-of-life, solar panel, photovoltaic, metal, leaching

Read more: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/342671383_Metal_dissolution_from_end-of-life_solar_photovoltaics_in_real_landfill_leachate_versus_synthetic_solutions_One-year_study

To be fair, other studies have claimed the risk is negligible;

Potential for leaching of heavy metals and metalloids from crystalline silicon photovoltaic systems

May 2019

DOI:10.5027/jnrd.v9i0.02

Seth A. Robinson
University of Florida

George A Meindl
Binghamton University

Photovoltaics (PV) are a rapidly growing technology as global energy sectors shift towards “greener” solutions. Despite the clean energy benefits of solar power, photovoltaic panels and their structural support systems (e.g., cement) often contain several potentially toxic elements used in their construction. Determining whether these elements have the potential to leach into surrounding environments should be a research priority, as panels are already being implemented on a large scale. In this study, we analyzed soil taken from beneath photovoltaic modules to determine if they are being enriched by metals (lead, cadmium, lithium, strontium, nickel, barium, zinc, and copper) and metalloids (selenium) present in panel systems. The soil samples were collected from directly beneath c-Si photovoltaic modules and adjacent fields. Samples were analyzed by inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES). Selenium, strontium, lithium, nickel, and barium levels measured in soil samples increased significantly in samples closer to PV systems. There were no significant differences in lead or cadmium levels near vs. far from the PV systems. Despite concentration differences for some elements near vs. far from the panel systems, no elements were, on average, present in concentrations that would pose a risk to nearby ecosystems. PV systems thus remain a cleaner alternative to traditional energy sources, such as coal, especially during the operation of these energy production systems.

Read more: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/339029474_Potential_for_leaching_of_heavy_metals_and_metalloids_from_crystalline_silicon_photovoltaic_systems

Pb (lead) and some Cr (Chromium) salts are highly toxic persistent environmental poisons. I think we all know about lead, but Chromium can also be a nasty toxin, depending on the oxidation state. Chromium (VI) salts are toxic and carcinogenic.

Maintenance could be a bigger issue than farmers realise. Simply bulldozing broken panels into the ground is not an option – according to the first study I quoted broken panels could leach up to 30% of their content of heavy metal toxins if they are buried. Even if farmers think they have a fixed price contract with the solar company, if the solar company goes bust the farmers could be left holding the baby, footing the bill for an expensive cleanup operation.

And you can bet if a farmer attempts to make an insurance claim because of contamination, every panel in their installation will receive a meticulous examination. Any unnoticed cracks and the insurance company would attempt to wriggle out of the claim, citing poor maintenance.

Frankly if I was a farmer I’d be looking at safer ways to improve profitability, than covering my land with solar panels which contain toxic heavy metals which could potentially leach into the pasture, regardless of how many assurances I had received about the alleged safety of such installations.

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Tom Halla
May 30, 2022 10:08 am

Much of “renewables” is wishful thinking. Everything has a downside.

Vuk
Reply to  Tom Halla
May 30, 2022 10:35 am

These solar panels are suppose to power your brand new electric car.
If you are thinking of buying one this might be of some interest.
I have two insurance policies with AXA, and possible another one or even two backed by AXA.
AXA is one of the world’s biggest insurance companies, apparently serving 100million+ customers worldwide and has been in the business for over 300 years.
Acording to the ‘Which on line’ magazine AXA doesn’t cover electric cars of following makes:
Tesla Model3 (34,783)
Kia e-Niro (12,271)
Audi e-tron (7,396)
Hyundai Kona (7,199)
MG ZS (5,380)
in the brackets is number of cars sold, presumable in the UK
https://www.which.co.uk/news/article/which-insurers-will-cover-your-electric-car-a9fQb7D6qYfS

Vuk
Reply to  Vuk
May 30, 2022 12:30 pm

Electric cars don’t pay fuel duty, but contrary to popular belief are not so green, so get ready for the TT (Tyre Tax).
“A ‘tyre tax’ will need to be imposed on electric cars to combat poor air quality in cities, the (UK) Government’s top clear air adviser has claimed.
Particles from tyre wear are more dangerous to public health than diesel exhaust fumes, Professor Alastair Lewis The chairman of the Government’s independent science advisory group on air pollution said
Professor Lewis said: ‘If you compare a modern Mini (much heavier due to the weight of its batteries) now with an old Mini, they’re almost unrecognisable in their size.
Larger, heavier vehicles will generate more particles.
Particulate matter (PM) 2.5 is considered to cause the largest amount of damage to public health… Nitrogen dioxide [from diesel fumes] comes second.
A world where we [have] jam-packed roads full of electric cars [also] isn’t a particularly attractive one… Even if they are electric, [they] will generate lots of particles.”
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/05/30/electric-cars-should-face-tyre-tax-says-air-quality-adviser/

Last edited 2 months ago by Vuk
rhs
Reply to  Vuk
May 30, 2022 1:55 pm

I’ve always figured this was a matter of time. Taxing tires/tyres based on expected milage to replace fuel tax is inevitable.

Bryan A
Reply to  rhs
May 30, 2022 8:31 pm

Why do Sheep and Solar Panels go together so well?

Either way you go you get Fleeced!

niceguy
Reply to  rhs
May 31, 2022 7:15 am

You will have a GPS/5G telemetry unit following and reporting you every move and miles driven and you have to “like it”.

Prjindigo
Reply to  rhs
May 31, 2022 11:17 pm

fuel is already priced at the MPG rate expected plus a margin

Mike Edwards
Reply to  Vuk
May 30, 2022 2:38 pm

The latest diesel cars produce very very low levels of PM 2.5 and NO2 – the days of smoke being emitted by diesel cars are past. You can’t even smell anything from the exhaust any longer.

Dennis
Reply to  Mike Edwards
May 30, 2022 10:54 pm

Especially with particulate filter kept clean and an additive to the fuel to maintain the injectors and fuel system.

My diesel 4WD has almost reached 120,000 Km and the exhaust pipe is very clean, and my son’s 4WD work vehicle is older but driven about the same distance and exhaust also very clean.

Coeur de Lion
Reply to  Dennis
May 31, 2022 1:47 am

Under my spare wheel I have a tank of AdBlu in my Citroen diesel which is why I only pay £20 a year road tax. And five minutes at the pump gives me 500 miles.

Prjindigo
Reply to  Mike Edwards
May 31, 2022 11:18 pm

maybe in England…. but I think you’re experiencing a fantasy brought on by other pollution numbing your nose

niceguy
Reply to  Vuk
May 30, 2022 10:11 pm

Why aren’t all Paris metro rail workers dead now? (not the metro drivers; the people who make sure the rail itself is sound)

That’s the more “toxic” environnement there is.

That is, if the fine particulates are the ultimate killers.

Roger
Reply to  Vuk
May 31, 2022 1:33 am

A ‘modern’ Mini is bigger than an old Maxi.

niceguy
Reply to  Vuk
June 3, 2022 7:56 am

Walking in Paris I have never seen

  • that many pure electric cars
  • that many hybrids
  • that many very large, long, heavy cars

Cars get larger when they go “green”!

Marty
Reply to  Tom Halla
May 30, 2022 12:32 pm

I suspect that if anyone wanted to spend the time, money and effort to investigate these claims they would find it is fake news and/or voodoo science.

Did you know that there was an experiment where they mixed iron ore in with the feed they gave the sheep? What happened? The sheep produced steel wool. All you gotta do is believe.

Dennis
Reply to  Marty
May 30, 2022 10:57 pm

If you left those sheep out in summer Australia with hot sunshine the steel wool could become heat treated and harden and then shearing would be impossible.

lol

niceguy
Reply to  Marty
May 31, 2022 7:19 am

That’s how they used to make chain mail.

May 30, 2022 10:13 am

I would like to see the setup. Grass grows very little in complete shade, if at all, so this must not be a normal solar array. If they use wide spacing it greatly decreases the power output per acre, which ups the LCOE since land cost is a major factor with solar, especially farmland.

Oh and mind the sheep don’t eat the wires. I would not try this with goats.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  David Wojick
May 30, 2022 10:34 am

The goats might climb up on the solar panels and break them with their hooves.

Vuk
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
May 30, 2022 10:57 am

Goats are bovidae devils incarnate.
Goats have turned prosperous agricultural Roman province of emperor Claudius (of “I Claudius” infamy) into a semi-desert of the ‘Anthropocene’ Morocco.
(/sarc if you wish)
comment image
In contrast the sheep are nice docile ‘woke snowflake’ follow the leader creatures, a bit like climate catastrophists.
p.s. After WWII when communists took over in my fatherland they banned, yes banned goats’ husbandry, despite well known fact that goat milk is one of the healthiest around.

Last edited 2 months ago by Vuk
Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
May 30, 2022 11:18 am

It’s not unknown for sheep to climb on things. or over things.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/sheep-rescue-rood-top-newmillerdam-b2068225.html

Vuk
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
May 30, 2022 11:28 am

My wife who went to Madrid to take a look at Prado museum couldn’t get there on the day because sheep took over from cars the streets of the Spanish capital. Fortunately following day things were back to normal.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
May 30, 2022 3:23 pm

Goats are terribly destructive. They WILL climb anything within their reach. My father always told the story of when he was young, a salesman drove up in a brand new car with a canvas top. He went to the front door and while waiting for Grandpa heard the sound of pop, pop, pop. He turned around and about 4 goats had climbed to the top and every time one raised a leg and put it down, they also pushed a hole into the top. LOL. The salesman never came back.

I don’t know what kind of grass the farmer had, but I must question how well the grass grew when shaded. Grass for shade is doggone expensive. Add to that is the difficulty of doing pasture maintenance such as spraying for weeds, fertilizing, and dealing with manure underneath solar panels will be difficult.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Jim Gorman
May 30, 2022 7:36 pm

The manure may obviate the need for fertilizer. And unless the weeds are toxic, the sheep will probably eat them.

I remember one of the times I traveled through New Zealand, the weeds along side the road were about waist high. One local solved the problem of the mail man getting to his mail box. He put a goat on a chain about 8′ long, attached to the mail box post. There was a neatly manicured, circular lawn around the mail box that was easy to get to — if the mail man could get passed the goat.

Last edited 2 months ago by Clyde Spencer
PCman999
Reply to  David Wojick
May 30, 2022 11:18 am

Following the ABC link shows that the panels are far apart and elevated, but not enough that the sheep can’t get intangled in the joint that allows the panel to track the Sun (single axis tracking, many panels on one long pipe). The sheep were slightly shorter than the height of the central pipe.
Follow the link in the ABC article to get to an earlier article where one farmer mentioned losing a couple of sheep to the mechanism.

Definitely more expensive looking than the fixed mount, practically ground mounted design.

But, hey more power to the farmers – it awesome having someone pay rent to use your land that you can still use for grazing and the panels provide shade and collect dew in the morning to keep the grass growing.

I hope someone is periodically testing the soil and grass where the dew collects.

Right-Handed Shark
Reply to  PCman999
May 30, 2022 12:58 pm

I hear those solar tracking panels generate nearly enough power to operate the motors.

Paul S.
Reply to  David Wojick
May 30, 2022 11:27 am

Exactly! If the grass doesn’t grow in the shade, then what do the sheep graze upon?

Peter Fraser
Reply to  David Wojick
May 30, 2022 12:52 pm

The clue is in the article. “He said the sheep were slightly lighter stocked than the average for the district…..” Less stock more feed. More feed more wool.

Chaswarnertoo
Reply to  Peter Fraser
May 31, 2022 12:06 am

Comparing apples and apricots, again.

Mike Edwards
Reply to  David Wojick
May 30, 2022 2:46 pm

I think that the sort of pasture they are talking about in Oz is very dry and has limited grass coverage and growth. The argument being made is that the solar panels reduce the water stress on the grass by the addition of shade, allowing it to grow more. This may well be the case in the semi-desert conditions of the Oz interior.

For the UK and similar well-watered environments, a solar farm is going to be nothing but bad news for the productivity of the land that it covers.

At least the Aussies have a dry and sunny climate that means they get decent output from their solar panels – in cloudier and wetter places like the UK, solar makes not much sense.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Mike Edwards
May 30, 2022 3:56 pm

Be careful the solar panels don’t shunt the rain water away from the grass below them and mainly fall in one spot right below the lowest edge of the panel. It just might wind up making the dirt below the panels even more dry than it is today!

John in Oz
Reply to  Mike Edwards
May 30, 2022 7:56 pm

At least the Aussies have a dry and sunny climate”

I had to laugh as I read this as the rain is pi$$ing down and there are floods in the Eastern states (I live in ‘sunny’ South Australia)

Mike Edwards
Reply to  John in Oz
May 30, 2022 10:40 pm

Welcome to the UK, John 😉

ozspeaksup
Reply to  John in Oz
May 31, 2022 3:35 am

lucky you cos SW vic has still had bugger all of the supposed welcome heavy rains
we just got the COLD .7c outside and 10c inside brrr

David Blenkinsop
Reply to  David Wojick
May 30, 2022 3:37 pm

My thought as well. To the extent, you block out the sun, obviously the grass can’t get sun! How did the believers ever miss this!

spangled drongo
Reply to  David Wojick
May 30, 2022 5:33 pm

Yes David, it’s the good season, not the solar farm, that is making the difference.
It doesn’t seem like a very scientific comparison.

Mike Dubrasich
Reply to  spangled drongo
May 30, 2022 10:33 pm

Apocryphal anecdotes sans real data or control of confounding factors should never be believed.

Joao Martins
Reply to  David Wojick
May 31, 2022 3:05 am

Yes. Fishy, that statement that proimary production (i.e., the grass that feeds the sheep) is higher at lower insolation… It goes against everything Biology established since … mid 1800s, at least.

Last edited 2 months ago by Joao Martins
Mr.
May 30, 2022 10:34 am

I’d like to see the lease agreement and remuneration the graziers get for making their property available for solar panels placement.

With the gob-smacking taxpayer subsidies for solar & wind projects, it could be that Farmer Jones doesn’t have to feed and shear another sheep for the remainder of his working life if he turns his paddocks over to fields of dreams panels.

It could be a no-brainer for ageing graziers.

John MCCUTCHEON
Reply to  Mr.
May 30, 2022 7:38 pm

Or a nightmare if at the solar panel end of life cycle the company goes bankrupt and the farmer is left holding all those dead solar panels.

H.R.
May 30, 2022 10:34 am

You have got to be kidding me! This does not pass the smell test, the laugh test, or the “pull my finger” test.

However, paper copies of this would make decent mulch or compost**. You have to give them that.

**A little stiff and crinkly for toilet paper.

Steve Case
Reply to  H.R.
May 30, 2022 12:06 pm

Sort of my take on it too:

   Benefits of running the animals under panels:

   Shade for the sheep and grass.
   Prevents soil from drying out.
   Sheep lighter stocked but cut an “amazing” amount of wool.

We are supposed to believe that up until now, providing shade for
sheep and grass results in greater wool production was not known.

How could the people running the Ag departments in all the world’s
universities miss this one?

Now that we “know” this, It looks like more economical structures
than solar panels could be provided for the sheep.

Unless of course [shade for sheep & grass = more wool ] is bullshit.

Pillage Idiot
Reply to  Steve Case
May 30, 2022 1:57 pm

Exactly!

Heck, you could buy defective solar panels for pennies on the dollar and make a killing on all of your “extra” wool production.

Anyone want to wager that their “study” result cannot be replicated?

ozspeaksup
Reply to  Steve Case
May 31, 2022 3:38 am

if youd ever seen sheep panting in distress and all trying to lie in the shade of a fencepost on 38c and upwards days…yes shade WOULD help a LOT. local farmers where I used to live wouldnt even allow fenceline trees to survive cos “theyd shade the crops” and reduce yields ffs! so the sheep on stubble and then bare dirt really do get stressed

Clyde Spencer
May 30, 2022 10:37 am

I do hope that the graziers don’t get fleeced by the solar companies.

Mr.
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
May 30, 2022 11:27 am

If I came out with a line like that, my missus would give me “The Look”

comment image

Gavin Liddiard
May 30, 2022 10:39 am

Surely all that energy that goes into making electrons move about is not making the grass grow, which would support less sheep per acre.
That said the panels would make a useful shelter when it rains.

Bob
May 30, 2022 10:46 am

This works for me, now the shepherds can pay for the solar panels and give the tax payer his money back.

stinkerp
May 30, 2022 10:57 am

Sheep also produce better wool under pyramid structures aligned with the cardinal directions. Also with chakra crystals tied around their necks. Bonus: magical healing powers and calm.

Or you could build a simple shade for them or plant trees, which is a heckuva lot cheaper than solar panels…

Last edited 2 months ago by stinkerp
Pillage Idiot
Reply to  stinkerp
May 30, 2022 2:01 pm

I am going to plant trees for the carbon sequestration credits.

I will also harvest the timber at maturity and sell the wood pellets to Drax.

Counting the increased wool production, we are already up to three income streams on this property!

I did not realize that “Going Green!” meant you were going to use government programs to print your greenbacks.

Paul C
May 30, 2022 10:57 am

However, in the UK, it can cost more to shear a sheep than the value of its wool. Sheep are raised primarily for meat, and wool is a low-value by-product. That is why there has been growing interest in sheep that don’t need shearing. This old article clearly indicates that more wool is a cost to the farmer rather than a benefit.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1264462/The-self-shearing-sheep-save-farmers-thousands-pounds.html

H.R.
Reply to  Paul C
May 30, 2022 11:33 am

Huh…. I’m used to getting sheared by our government and the elites (same, same), and I pay a pretty penny to get sheared by a barber, but I didn’t know much about sheep getting sheared.

So… the labor to shear a sheep is more than the value of the wool that was sheared?

Who gnu?

ozspeaksup
Reply to  Paul C
May 31, 2022 3:41 am

yes cos your wool is coarse for carpet type use. quality good merino or merino cross is bringing 15$ au a kilo or more the last few years and costs a couple of $ per head to shear

PCman999
May 30, 2022 10:58 am

Maybe the trace chemicals leaching into the soil and hence into the sheep grazing around the solar panels is the reason for the enhanced wool production.
Mutant Ninja Sheep Wool!

Or maybe the farmers answered the researchers’ surveys about their sheep after looking at the subsidy checks/payments received. Certainly the jovial attitude enhanced the subjective quality assessments.

ozspeaksup
Reply to  PCman999
May 31, 2022 3:43 am

early yrs we found sheep in the Burra area did VERY well with fine wool because?? the copper in the soil enhanced the staple growth. copper deficient soils give harsh wool that does resemble steel wool coarse crimp etc. so stockblocks with copper and other minerals are important here

J Mac
May 30, 2022 11:02 am

Shade grown wool?

fretslider
Reply to  J Mac
May 30, 2022 11:49 am

Cross a sheep with a kangaroo and you’ve got a woolly jumper

Bryan A
Reply to  fretslider
May 30, 2022 9:33 pm

And your wool suit comes with a pocket

Corky the cat
May 30, 2022 11:03 am

Fleece is worthless where we are, but sheep have to be sheared and you can’t even give it away,

Dennis
Reply to  Corky the cat
May 30, 2022 11:00 pm

In NZ shearing sheep is not discussed but velcro gloves are I understand popular presents.

ozspeaksup
Reply to  Corky the cat
May 31, 2022 3:45 am

what? even just for selling to be scoured to get the lanolin theres worth in wool. bought a tube of lanolin at all? IF you can even get it its around 20$ a tube, used to be around 4$ and most now is a small %lanolin and the rest some other muck

fretslider
May 30, 2022 11:06 am

But don’t sheep and cows have to go?

“Primary school pupils to be offered insects to eat in ‘alternative protein’ study”

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/uk-news/primary-school-pupils-offered-insects-24103107

Can they make their minds up?

Last edited 2 months ago by fretslider
TonyL
Reply to  fretslider
May 30, 2022 12:41 pm

Damn, what a great idea. I never would have thought of it.
Capture all your pest and nuisance insects and feed them to school children.
Excellent.

Vuk
Reply to  TonyL
May 30, 2022 1:43 pm

“Sorry miss, I like fresh food, the creepy crawlies just escaped when my lunch box accidentally fell on your desk, ‘onest”

Gary Pearse
Reply to  fretslider
May 30, 2022 1:53 pm

If governments keep taking more off the taxpayer without creating a pitchfork revolution, people may start eating bugs to stay alive.

Definitely shading of panels reduces the forage. Maybe the wool is scavenging the meat of the sheep and the lamb is poor quality. We already know that the Great Reset has provided useful data on the gulibility and malleability of the great majority, particularly those who haven’t rehabilitated themselves from the wrongly purposed ‘education’ received over the past 2 to 3 generations to soften them up. This is why the Dark Side can put out evermore ridiculous climate pap with impunity.

The Soviet Union communism (and
China’s) came to be by revolution overpowering the people. They weren’t prepared in advance like we are in the West. Our pre-hybridized, cultivated socialists may be the majority already everywhere in the West, except in the USA. Certainly they’ve half succeeded there though. Canada’ a little harder to push than Oz because of the influence of our neighbour and NZ was ready to sign up decades ago. India is becoming an attractive alternative place to go.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Gary Pearse
May 31, 2022 5:17 am

And the USA doesn’t need a pitchfork revolution. That’s why our Founding Fathers so wisely put the 2nd Amendment into the Constitution and why the Democrats hate the 2nd Amendment so much.

DaveinCalgary
May 30, 2022 11:58 am

During the draught last summer in Southern Alberta, a producer reported the grazing was much better under the elevated panels as the periodic daily shade increased the heat tolerance of the grass. Provided the panels are raised and spaced properly, it seems like sensible land stewardship in arid regions.
Increasing the value of the livestock seems like a stretch though.

Thomas Gasloli
May 30, 2022 12:02 pm

“He said his sheep were slightly lighter stocked.”

So the reason there was more wool per sheep than normal is there were fewer sheep than normal so more food per sheep hence more wool per sheep. Solar panels had nothing to do with it. Real conclusion is they are normally raising too many sheep per acre.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Thomas Gasloli
May 30, 2022 2:31 pm

Good thought

pigs_in_space
May 30, 2022 12:25 pm

I thought there were more sheep than people in OZ.
Clearly believing this April 1 style bollox, the sheeple now outnumber the sheep?

Mr.
Reply to  pigs_in_space
May 30, 2022 1:46 pm

That’s New Zealand.
But Kiwis claim their sheep are better looking than the Aussie ones.
But you have to buy them flowers.

H.R.
Reply to  Mr.
May 30, 2022 5:16 pm

Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.

HOJO
Reply to  H.R.
May 31, 2022 9:52 am

Aint nobody’s business but my own.
I saw TAJ live in NY back in the 70’s cool stuff Thanks for the off topic memory

Dennis
Reply to  Mr.
May 30, 2022 11:03 pm

I was travelling in a tourist coach in France and as it passed a farm with many sheep I commented joking that we must be in New Zealand, and the Kiwi sitting nearby was not impressed.

Tinny
May 30, 2022 12:29 pm

Does the methane emissions of the sheep not cancel any purported point of the solar panels?

Peta of Newark
May 30, 2022 12:29 pm

As someone said, those are tracking panels in the link.
Most large solar installations use fixed panels.
Under the fixed ones, after 2 or 3 years, the ground directly under them does NOT retain moisture, nor does it retain anything else, least of all grass to the sheep to eat
Been there, done that. Albeit on a very modest scale but in a near identical climate to New Zealand (Cumbria in NW England)

No matter how much CO2 or Global Greening, *nothing* grows in the shade – even partial shade as you think the panels provide.
And the soil under fixed panels will become bone-dry, bare and rock-hard and worst of all: Dead.
The soil bacteria that were there will all perish and become; Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide

Does no-one here have a wife or girlfriend?
On the patently off-chance that they do, they will know how important ‘hair’ is to girls and how the girls know how to look after it.

One of the main rules for having nice hair is Keep it out of the weather
i.e. do not expose it to bright direct sun (UV of course) wind and rain.

(No one has any experience of sheep neither)
Sheep are not stupid and if there is any way of avoiding being caught out in any of the weather conditions listed, they will work it out and do it.

That is why the sheep develop such lovely hair/wool/fleeces. They instinctively know – and use the solar panels to best beautifying advantage.

Maybe its from my farming background but I find it simultaneously incredible and depressing that anyone would be surprised or amazed by what’s in this story.
Especially the guffing and gushing coming from someone who is *supposed* to be a shepherd

PS Pollution;
I cannot really envisage anyone simply burying old solar panels, panels as typically presently constructed.
In a few years, the way electricity generation/prices is going, the Aluminium frames around those thing will be right up there, price-wise, with Lead, Lithium, Nickel Cobalt etc
Folks ## will be coming to steal them and thus ‘take them away for free’

(## Usually they have Irish accents and live in caravans. Nottinghamshire is now over-run by them)

Last edited 2 months ago by Peta of Newark
Mr.
Reply to  Peta of Newark
May 30, 2022 1:53 pm

Yes funny that.
I noticed that the spot in my back yard lawn where I park my boat & trailer (about the same dimensions as a large solar panel I imagine) is always bereft of grass, just bare dirt.

So solar panels are imbued with some magical properties that ensure the grass under them keeps growing?

ozspeaksup
Reply to  Mr.
May 31, 2022 3:51 am

funny cos anything left in my yard under shade grows decent grass or weeds from ingress water and windblown seeds
however the sheep will be lying in the PV shade and sheep wool is lanolin soaked(ever grabbed one you’ll know how much) so the underpanel soil WILL become impervious to water via the lanolin and the pee n poop will also become fairly dense as well, the crap where they eat, theyre not bright critters

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Peta of Newark
May 30, 2022 7:50 pm

*nothing* grows in the shade

That’s why Dolly Parton has small feet.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Peta of Newark
May 30, 2022 10:47 pm

Huh. I should tell my walnut trees, which provide significant shade, shouldn’t have any grass growing under them. I wonder what they’ll think.

ozspeaksup
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
May 31, 2022 3:52 am

ditto my mulberry tree in full summer shade grows 2ft high couch with zero problems as well as 4ft thistles and nightshade

May 30, 2022 12:33 pm

This discussion is based on exactly zero data.

TonyL
May 30, 2022 12:35 pm

Pb (lead) and some Cr (Chromium) salts are highly toxic persistent environmental poisons.
They cause neurological problems and brain damage in the worst case.

Maintenance could be a bigger issue than farmers realise. Simply bulldozing broken panels into the ground is not an option – according to the first study I quoted broken panels could leach up to 30% of their content of heavy metal toxins if they are buried.

Any suggestion that any farmer would break up solar panels and then plow them into the ground is an obvious sign of Pb and Cr poisoning in whoever made the suggestion.

Let’s play a thought experiment:
Suppose a farmer did break up the panels and set about plowing them in. What about the steel piping used as the panel supports? Plow that stuff under too? I would love to be there, just to see how that works out.
Then the concrete blocks the steel piping is set into. Have the plow break up the blocks and plow that stuff under as well????
I really want to see that one. And I want to see what that poor plow looks like when our farmer is done with it.
I am bringing my camera, This is going to be a Kodak moment.


Gunga Din
Reply to  TonyL
May 30, 2022 4:01 pm

Simply bulldozing broken panels into the ground is not an option…

No mention of plows. Where’s you get that from?

May 30, 2022 12:39 pm

Since Merino sheep do better in a cooler climate the extra shade is probably good for the animal’s health and wool growth. Moisture under the panels won’t evaporate as quick which in theory should be beneficial for general grass growth. Although the much reported increase in rainfall over the last few years in large parts of Australia may also have hit Parkes NSW, which would benefit grass growth and with that sheep health/wool growth. Lower stock rates, as mentioned, may have the same effect on wool produced of course but that is not as exciting to report.
If the Merino fibre increases in thickness due to any of these potentially better conditions the value will decrease, with Merino fiber the lower the microns the higher the price, and any weight gain in wool harvest will be offset by a lower price on the market. Financially there seems to me no gain if a 5% increase in wool weight leads to say a 10% drop in value.
But it is an interesting observation which does merit further research, the next study direction to secure funding from the Australian Wool Board.

rhs
May 30, 2022 1:53 pm

I wonder if these same people are the ones claiming tomatoes ripen faster under solar panels than without solar panels.

Dennis
Reply to  rhs
May 30, 2022 11:04 pm

Or the blogger who claimed she would buy an EV and charge it overnight with solar panels.

Dave O.
May 30, 2022 1:55 pm

Superfund for solar panels??

Waza
May 30, 2022 1:58 pm

Dubbo rainfall
2017, 2018, 2019 ( low of 211mm) well below average.
2020, 2021 ( high of 924mm )well above average.
2022 looks like will be above average.
Guess what since solar panels installed more wool.
So unless can document wool quality and quantity across multiple farms and count for changes and n rainfall the claim is nothing but a claim.

ResourceGuy
May 30, 2022 2:22 pm

What other variables are not discussed or disclosed?

ResourceGuy
May 30, 2022 2:24 pm

How many Uyghur slaves making solar panel components went into the making of this study?

Michael ElliottMichael Elliott
Reply to  ResourceGuy
May 30, 2022 3:15 pm

My first job in Australia was on a Sheep Station, Banongill near Skipton.

The owner a Major Fai bun told me that he planted a lot of trees so the sheep could keep cool during the hot Summer.

It’s the shade factor.

Michael VK5ELL

Robert of Ottawa
May 30, 2022 3:07 pm

There is no grass for them to eat, so this is a mystery.

Geoff Sherrington
May 30, 2022 5:28 pm

The literature on the human response to ingested lead Pb has been through a process of quasi-scientific exaggeration of threat. Just as scientists on the global warming spectrum exaggerate temperature threats (and sometimes exaggerate temperatures themselves) so it is with Pb toxicity.
If commentators are going to write about lead as a danger, the usual call for references to high quality research by neutral authors seems like a prudent move.
Of course, Pb at high concentrations in the body has caused many deaths. Far less evidence, if any, exists for harm from trace quantities like those reported above in soils below old solar panels. Geoff S

ozspeaksup
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
May 31, 2022 3:55 am

traces would be all thats in paint but the “gurus” swear babies sucking wood cribs and stuff using old lead paint were forever harmed…

Vincent
May 30, 2022 6:05 pm

I think the main point to be taken from this article is that the construction of solar farms in the natural environment does not necessarilly exclude other profiable uses of that land. Therefore, the designers of solar farms should always take into consideration the potential, additional uses of such land, and design the solar farm in a way that best suits those additional uses.

rd50
Reply to  Vincent
May 30, 2022 8:32 pm

Finally.
You are the only one that makes sense about this article about the solar farms and sheep.
The article is not about “scientists” with their computer models.
It is an article about FARMERS observing what is happening and simply reporting it.
They are saying they will continue to OBSERVE.
Yes, this is what FARMERS do. They OBSERVE. Thank you to them.

Vincent
Reply to  rd50
May 31, 2022 1:01 am

Thankyou. I’m glad at least someone in this thread agrees and can see the rationality of my arguement.

ozspeaksup
Reply to  rd50
May 31, 2022 3:57 am

theyre looking ie observing…and making a statement which is…less than correct
as pointed out less stock =more fodder and yes shade prob did help a bit, but its been a very good couple of yrs due to la nina here

Joel
May 30, 2022 7:11 pm

The grass on my lawn grows best when there is partial shade. I live in Baltimore Maryland USA. I presume that the intense heat and UV from the sun does damage the grass somewhat.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Joel
May 30, 2022 7:56 pm

The heat from the direct sun also probably causes more evaporation from the soil. I have two problems with my lawn in Ohio. The shadiest spots tend to develop moss, at the expense of the grass, and the sunniest spots turn brown from lack of water.

rd50
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
May 30, 2022 8:55 pm

Yes I get the same in Western Pennsylvania.
At this time the grass is growing very well in partial shade or sun. The entire neighbor area is green, green, green.
When summer is good with rain both shade and sunny will stay green, but slower growth.
If little rain in the summer, sunny area with be brown, shade will stay green but not fast growing. Over 50 years of observation!

Mike Dubrasich
Reply to  Joel
May 30, 2022 10:43 pm

I live in West Deliverance where it rains every day for months on end. The grass grows gangbusters everywhere. Last week I thought somebody stole my pickup truck, but then I mowed the lawn and there it was!

Vincent
Reply to  Joel
May 31, 2022 7:28 pm

I’m rather disappointed that certain AGW skeptics on this site sometimes behave like ‘Deniers’ with regard to other issues. It should be obvious that different species of plants, in general, vary considerably in their ability to thrive under significant areas of shade, and this applies to different species of grass.

A quick search on the internet has revealed that ‘Saphire Soft Leaf Buffalo Grass’ does very well in 70% shade cover. Most of the related articles on the internet, regarding best grass for shade, are about lawn use, but buffalo grass in general is a good grass for grazing of sheep and cattle.

“Independent research has found that Sapphire Soft Leaf Buffalo, in 70% shade cover, maintains quality and growth and outperforms other Buffalo varieties such as Shademaster, Sir Walter, Kings Pride and Matilda.”

https://www.myhometurf.com.au/lawn-tips/sapphire-soft-leaf-buffalo/

Dennis
May 30, 2022 10:52 pm

Nothing to do with the last long drought years and poor paddock feeding conditions, dust, etc and now the greening since heavy rainfall and floods in 2020 and again now in 2022?

Damon
May 30, 2022 11:18 pm

The Law of Unintended Consequences has been as unbroken as the Law of Gravity.

griff
May 31, 2022 12:37 am

Scaremongering… alarmism.

I thought skeptics were against alarmism?

and do note this clearly shows continued agricultural use of ground within solar farms…

ozspeaksup
Reply to  griff
May 31, 2022 3:59 am

and wont it be fun rounding the buggers up around panels?
the dogs will NOT be happy

MarkW
Reply to  griff
May 31, 2022 9:33 am

Pointing out real problems is not alarmism.
The article is claiming that they are able to grow sheep on the same land.
The claims are subject to debate, as the comments above have shown.
What is it about you warmistas and your inability to question anything that your handlers tell you to believe?

Serge Wright
May 31, 2022 1:02 am

It’s a shame sheep are banned in the new green world order, due to methane emissions.

ozspeaksup
Reply to  Serge Wright
May 31, 2022 4:01 am

hmm no sheep no warm clothing and no gas oil etc means no polycrap clothes either, we cant have cotton cos thats water intensive.
if the newgreen rev gets its way we will be buck naked

ozspeaksup
May 31, 2022 3:26 am

cheaper n easier n safer to provide some shadecloth shelters for the sheep
the leachings a real concern for HOME users whos panels are old/unused and still ON roofs (and beforehand) as a huge amount of aussies use the rainwater for drinking, gardens etc
be damned useful if someone did some testing on THAT contamination
and those that dont use the rainwater still flush it into stormwater ie creeks etc cop it.

ATheoK
May 31, 2022 5:01 am

Sheep grazing under solar panels at farms in NSW’s Central West have produced better wool and more of it in the four years since the projects began, according to growers.”

Really!?
How… absurd!

Exactly what do solar panels contribute to sheep grazing?

  • Electric shock?
  • Leached metals or minerals?
  • Dropped foods by solar panel installers?
  • A change in plants growing that sheep eat?
  • Additional shade?
  • Better sheep shearers?
  • Or is it because they increased the flock size?

Nothing in their report identifies exactly why sheep grow more and better wool just grazing under solar panels. Making their claim, more alarmist magical thinking.

One gets the idea that these sheep owners are spreading tall tales for unspecified reason(s). Perhaps to obscure the deadly metals these sheep owners have spread throughout the lands?

Bruce Cobb
May 31, 2022 6:54 am

All the better for Big Solar to fleece those being forced to pay for it.

Prjindigo
May 31, 2022 11:16 pm

Electrocuted sheep have no production. Covering 65-75% of the field with solar panels = 65-75% less production. Sheep will try to take things with them in sooicide pacts.

You really don’t want sheep under your solar panels. They generate a fire hazard.

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