Land Stewardship and Dual-Use Solar







We understand the value of the land where our solar projects are located and recognize the deep sense of connection that farmers and local community members have with the land.

Open spaces and productive agricultural land are valuable assets in the United States. We share the deep sense of connection that farmers and local community members have with the land. Because land is so valuable and such an irreplaceable asset, we spend considerable effort to integrate our projects with the environments where they are located. Dual-use solar provides an opportunity to preserve farmland while it’s temporarily occupied by a recyclable solar farm. This provides the land with a regenerative opportunity to improve soil health while resting, leaving the land ready, once again, for agricultural production at the end of the solar project’s lifespan. Grazing and crop production are common dual-use attributes we seek for our projects, enabling farmers to continue working with their land while a solar facility is in operation.


Pollinator habitat created:

948 acres

Forests preserved:

190 acres

Area grazed by sheep:

155 acres


Expanding Pollinator Habitat

Bees, bats, birds, butterflies, and other pollinator animals are in trouble because of habitat loss, pollution, and widespread disease. When pollinators cannot find the right quantity or quality of food, such as nectar and pollen within their flight range, they simply do not survive. According to the US Department of Agriculture, there are not enough pollinator friendly plantings or replacement habitat to support pollinators. This is a problem, considering that about 35% of the world’s food crops depend on animal pollinators to reproduce.

Native plants are the ideal choice to support pollinators because they produce abundant nectar and pollen, while being low maintenance, generally pest free, drought tolerant, and provide deep roots which are important for erosion control and topsoil preservation. While naturally beautiful, native plants are also good sources of food and shelter for wildlife. OneEnergy is a leader in implementing pollinator-friendly solar. Our projects provide more than just a buffer of flowering plants; we work with ecological restoration specialists to seed entire solar sites with a diverse mix of native prairie species, including bunch grasses for nesting bees and flowers with a wide range of bloom times, providing exceptional habitat for local pollinators. We carefully curate customized seed mixes and other vegetation so that our solar farms can serve as safe, supportive homes for beneficial insects, birds and other wildlife. The durability and diversity of the plant species selected are considered with other important factors, such as stormwater absorption and soil health. We look to support habitat creation, agricultural use, and soil stabilization, working closely with our landowner partners and communities to responsibly integrate solar energy into the environment. 

Cultivating Biodiversity with Sheep Grazing

We work closely with local farmers who rotationally graze sheep on our solar sites. Sheep are the preferred livestock because they are productive grazers and are shorter than their bovine counterparts, allowing them to graze freely underneath rows of solar panels. Rotational grazing helps maintain pollinator plantings and pasture vegetation selected with sheep health in mind. As the livestock digest vegetation, they spread manure, cycling nutrients, carbon and water back into the soil. Mowing back vegetation, pruning grasses and other plants while also loosening the soil with their hooves, and spreading manure are fantastically beneficial to the habitat.  

The solar panels also provide sheep microclimates due to the shade created underneath the panel rows. Studies have shown sheep living among rows of solar panels spend more time grazing, benefit from more nutritious food, and appear to experience less heat stress, compared with being exposed to direct all-day sunlight in an open field. OneEnergy prepares our solar projects for safe and successful sheep grazing by ensuring robust perimeter fencing is installed and providing access to a local water source. OneEnergy’s grazing partners count on regular payments for their grazing services and high quality pastures for their sheep to roam. Providing farmers with a reliable income source is incredibly important as we count on our landowner and farming partners across the United States. The diversified revenue and access to productive land helps our farming partners build resilience into their operations. 

Photo: Werner Slocum/NREL

Crop Production

Many types of crops have increased yields when grown under solar panels, which protect the crops from heat stress and frost. In addition to growing vegetables, solar projects may also be compatible with hay production.

We will work with you to discuss ways to accommodate crop production within the solar array, such as increasing panel row spacing or using smaller farming equipment.


Solar projects provide an opportunity for environmental restoration of degraded land. This includes coal ash remediation, wetland restoration, and siting pollinator-friendly solar on landfills. In addition to restoring the soil through rotational sheep grazing and establishing native prairie vegetation, we are seeking new ways to amplify our positive environmental impact.

Are you interested in leasing your land for dual use solar?