Texas solar farm recruits 'lambscaping' team to clear away weeds

At a small San Antonio solar facility, the ovine groundskeeping crew keep things trim and tidy with the aid of split upper lips and 4-chambered stomachs.

Just when you thought goats were being offered all the primo landscaping gigs (Google, Chicago O’ Hare, etc.) comes a story out of San Antonio involving the grass-clearing prowess of another cloven-hoofed ruminant: sheep.

As reported by the Texas Tribune, a 4.4-megawatt South Texas solar farm operated by OCI Solar Power is now the grazing grounds of about 90 hardworking Barbados Cross sheep (appearance-wise, these hair goats aren’t your stereotypical fluffy white bleat machines). The herd was brought in to help keep the 45-acre facility neat, tidy, and free of overgrowth that would, as the Tribune explains, “otherwise impede the company’s technicians.”

While sheep-for-hire are less expensive to employ than single-chamber-stomached landscapers — who are liable to due things like call in sick, take extended lunch breaks, and demand vacation days — they also have an advantage over other ruminants, goats specifically, when working on a pasturage dominated by electrical equipment: they’re not prone to jumping and gnawing on wires and cables.

Additionally, ovine lawnmowers are able to maneuver around the thousands of photovoltaic panels at the Alamo 2 solar farm with relative ease and tackle spots that people-powered mechanical landscaping equipment might not be able to reach. And they're a low-maintenance bunch as well: when the sheep need a break from grazing away under the hot South Texas sun, they simply plop themselves down under the panels for a spell. And unlike goats, they also don’t need supplemental food to survive.

Read more: http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/energy/blogs/texas-solar-farm-recruits-lambscaping-team-to-clear-away-weeds