« Back to all news

Key Approach to VW Solar Farm

Over the last 9 years, Tyler Menne of Appalachian Land Design has managed the land housing our Volkswagen Chattanooga facility, making him one of Silicon Ranch’s earliest partners.

In this video, Tyler and Silicon Ranch’s Nick de Vries talk about the importance of keeping the soil covered with vegetation such as grass. Vegetation helps prevent erosion by penetrating the soil with roots, providing more pathways for water percolation, and slowing down water as it moves across the land. As a result, this allows more time for the water to be absorbed into the ground rather than just running off. This approach is key at our Volkswagen Chattanooga solar farm, given the ecoregion’s clay-heavy soils.

The VW Chattanooga Solar Farm sits in the middle of a large watershed, between a set of hills and a wetlands area. Without this grass, as Tyler and Nick explain, the land is a “water slide” bringing silty water into the protected wetlands area.

The land management for this solar facility is currently transitioning from mowing to managed sheep grazing, implemented via our Regenerative Energy® platform. Through holistic planned sheep grazing and other land stewardship practices, we will help regenerate the land, building topsoil under our solar panels, enhancing biodiversity, catalyzing carbon sequestration, and improving soil water retention capacity, all while maintaining vegetation to prevent shading of the solar modules.

Our Regenerative Energy® stewardship at this site reflects how we manage solar land across a range of ecoregions, each with its own climate, biodiversity, and soil type.