What do sheep and solar panels have in common? They are part of what Susquehanna University says is the largest university-sponsored solar array in Pennsylvania.
Officials from Susquehanna University and WGL Energy Systems flipped the switch on the solar energy system.
“When you can bring the strategic initiative of solar, universities and a key market for us, this is a very important project,” said Richard Walsh, WGL Energy Systems.
About 30 percent of Susquehanna University’s electricity will now come from solar power. University officials call it a big step forward and say it will save a lot of money.
“It saves money in areas where then we can redirect those funds to supporting the educational mission of the institution more directly, which is also another way of being sustainable and more responsible,” said Susquehanna University President Jonathan Green.
Another aspect of the project involves sheep being used to mow the lawn in the new solar array.
Caroline Owen owns Owens Farm near Sunbury. She and her husband will graze their sheep under the solar panels. The complex of solar panels is more than 12 acres so there will be at least 30 sheep here at a time.
“How tall the plants are, what are their favorite plants, how quickly are they eating them — we’re going to be constantly adjusting,” said Owen. “Green sheep are pretty good at keeping it nice and close to the ground so I think it’s an opportunity for everybody to benefit.”
The sheep will mow the lawn from spring through fall each year. The solar system will produce energy all year long.