Case Study: Pulaski Solar Center

Silicon Ranch’s Pulaski Solar Center, a 28-acre solar farm producing 2.25 MWac of energy, is managed using regenerative farming practices, including holistic planned grazing. This practice involves subdividing land into grazing divisions (referred to as pastures or paddocks) to manage livestock movement and density. Holistic planned grazing also focuses on avoiding over-grazing and optimizing the recovery time of grazed plants to foster more frequent plant growth cycles, which helps to restore the land.

Holistic planned grazing mitigates existing erosion and prevents future erosion, while maintaining the vegetation beneath the panels so that they aren’t shaded. Prior to the launch of Regenerative Energy®, Silicon Ranch managed the land conventionally, using equipment and herbicides—often resorting to cutting vegetation by hand under the fixed-tilt solar panels that are bolted to the rocky, hilly terrain. The company now partners with Tall Oaks Farm and Land Management LLC to manage this project regeneratively.

Regenerative Practices Used

  • Holistic planned grazing
  • No broadcast chemical pesticides or herbicides
  • Animal impact including trample mulching of hay to address erosion
  • Sheep fed primarily forage, occasionally supplemented with pelleted feeds to support nutrition, and hay ingested during targeted animal impact practice

Key Metrics

Pulaski Solar Farm

Employing Regenerative Farming to Manage and Improve the Land

Ecological Outcomes

With the addition of regenerative farming practices, Regenerative Energy® has seen the following positive ecological outcomes: 

  • Reduction of bare ground, minimization of erosion
  • Decreased sedimentation
  • Improved speed of water filtration
  • Greater biodiversity in flora and fauna
  • Increase in soil organic matter
Social and Economic Outcomes

The project is providing our ranching partner, Trey Lawrence of Tall Oaks Farm and Land Management LLC, with wages and a new revenue stream that drive associated indirect (supply chain spending) and induced (household spending) wage impacts to the local economy. It also catalyzes significant social benefits, including improved quality of life. In Trey’s words, this work is “what he feels like he’s supposed to be doing.”

Project Topography

This site is located within the Interior Plateau ecoregion, consisting of rolling and hilly topography. The region’s limestone, chert, and shale rock are covered by soils that tend to be cherty, acid, and low to moderate in fertility. The natural vegetation is primarily oak-hickory forest with some areas of bluestem prairie and cedar glades.

“At Pulaski, conventional management using mowers and herbicides failed operationally, regardless of cost. Regenerative Energy®’s holistic approach to the land is simply superior—the long-term operational and environmental results—better vegetative cover, reduced erosion, and increased water infiltration, at lower cost speak for themselves.” – Loran Shallenberger, Regenerative Energy Project Manager

“There is no better way to keep vegetation in place and eradicate erosion and soil loss than with sheep. They want to be in places that are hard to manage conventionally. The other methods that we used previously, mowing and herbicides, resulted in erosion and soil loss, not operational success. Regenerative Energy® is just the right thing.” – Nick de Vries, Senior Vice President, Technology & Asset Management