Silicon Ranch delivers clean, low-cost energy straight from the sun. And, through our Regenerative Energy™ program, we’re committed to going beyond solar to restore soil health, ecosystems, and rural communities. We do this by using regenerative agriculture and other holistic practices at solar farms. The specific regenerative practices implemented will vary by project and over time, depending on local ecological conditions, management goals, and project partner goals. The Regenerative Energy™ Standards include the following practices, among others:

 

 

 

Regenerative Energy™ Practices Being Implemented in 2019

 

 

 

Adaptive Managed Grazing

  • Livestock graze for a short time, usually three to ten days, then land rests, ungrazed, for adequate time to allow vegetation to recover from grazing while maintaining animal performance and advancing long-term land productivity goals

 

 

Fertilization

  • Operations are fertilized using waste from animals, compost, and biochar

 

 

Grassland Restoration

  • Land under solar modules restored to functioning grassland ecosystem using cover crops, diverse crop rotation, and animal impact (no till)
  • Animal hooves puncture the surface of the soil, trampling in seeds and mulch (in areas of minor erosion) to increase water holding capacity of soil and decrease erosion

 

 

Community Engagement

  • Engage with stakeholders through surveys and interviews to understand values and goals

 

 

 

 

Other Regenerative Energy™ Practices

 

 

 

 

Wetland Restoration

  • Wetlands inside and outside array fencing restored to functioning wetland ecosystems

 

 

Pollinator Habitat Creation

  • Areas inside solar array fencing planted specifically for pollinator habitat, often paired with commercial apiary (beekeeping) operations

 

 

Re-Forestation

  • Undeveloped land outside solar array fencing re-forested
  • Silvopasture (integrating trees, shrubs, forage plants, and livestock)

 

 

Endangered or Threatened Species Habitat Creation

  • Areas outside solar array fencing planted specifically for endangered or threatened species habitat

 

 

Additional (Stacked) Agricultural Enterprises

  • Pastured hogs
  • Pastured poultry
  • Apiary (beekeeping)
  • Regenerative cropping systems
    • Fruit orchards

 

Decarbonization of Vehicles and Equipment

  • Onsite vehicles and any mechanical vegetation management equipment powered with electricity

 

 

PV System Design and Site Construction

  • Holistic system design adopted
  • Holistic materials acquisition and management plan adopted
  • Minimal grading practiced
  • Minimal compaction practiced
  • Local labor used
  • Low-zero waste targeted

 

 

Animal Welfare

  • Animal welfare plan adopted

 

 

Solar Plant Decommissioning

  • Decommission plan adopted
  • Module recycling or reuse plan adopted