Furman University has teamed up with a farmer to begin using his sheep to mow the lawn at the Furman Solar Farm.
For the past four weeks, Greenville sheep farmer Stephen Wood has been overseeing his flock of 12 sheep as they eat grass growing underneath the farm’s six acres of solar panels, which are unreachable by riding lawnmowers.
Furman University officials are paying the farmer for his sheep’s service, and in return the sheep now have a space to graze and shelter underneath the solar panels.
“We’re paying less than we would to hand mow under the panels, so economically it’s a win. It’s also a win environmentally. We’re trying to be a carbon neutral school,” says Laura Bain, Assistant Director of Sustainability Assessment at Furman University.
On average, the solar farm reduces 5% of the energy consumed on campus. Furman University is also planning to add solar powered electric fencing on the farm to guide the sheep to the areas underneath the solar panels.