Solar projects by the Silicon Ranch Corporation now combine clean electric power generation with ecosystem restoration, carbon reduction, and rural economic revitalization thanks to “Regenerative Energy.”
The mission statement of Regenerative Energy™, in addition to the above states “Regenerative Energy™ projects are built and operated in alignment with natural systems and approach solar farming holistically. A transformative new standard of excellence for the solar industry, Regenerative Energy™ aims to improve the way the solar industry manages land by normalizing regenerative agriculture practices on solar farm sites.”
“Regenerative Energy marks a new era at Silicon Ranch that speaks to who we are as a company and is a direct reflection of the value we deliver to our customers and our communities through pioneering, responsive, and holistic approaches to the work we do,” said Reagan Farr, Co-Founder, President, and Chief Operating Officer of Silicon Ranch, the U.S. solar platform for Shell. “We are committed to advancing this nature-based solution to climate change that sets a new standard of excellence for our industry, keeps solar land in agricultural production, and brings people together to increase the pace and scale of adoption of regenerative agriculture practices that are critical to the health of our planet.”
Silicon Ranch has joined together with well-known local eco-friendly ranchers and farmers to develop and deploy holistic and sustainable land use methods across the nation. Diverse native vegetation, grazing animals, and a pollination habitat to encourage healthy bee population increase biodiversity and create healthy ecosystems. In addition, these programs also help to keep carbon in the soil and strengthen the economies of rural communities.
The Regenerative Energy™ program mirrors the global effort by Shell to create solutions that are nature-based to restore, transform, and protect land in a way so that it naturally absorbs more carbon emissions from the air. The Silicon Ranch Corporation has already started putting these regenerative agriculture programs in place in Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Colorado and plans to move the rest of its portfolio to this practice in time.
The first new construction solar projects utilizing the new standards for Silicon Ranch have broken ground in southwest Georgia in partnership with Will Harris of White Oak Pastures, one of the top regenerative ranchers in the U.S. The company plans to bring the new standards to nearly 4,000 acres in the area.
“White Oak Pastures is honored to help Silicon Ranch transform ‘renewable energy production’ into ‘regenerative energy production,’” said Will Harris, owner of White Oak Pastures. “Developing the management system that naturally draws down millions of tons of atmospheric carbon, on hundreds of thousands of acres of land, while enriching dozens of impoverished local communities and helping to meet the significant food demands of the future is noble work. I am grateful to be a part of helping Silicon Ranch perfect the protocol to do it.”
Silicon Ranch has become the leader in developing scientific research-based standards to measure and verify the results of regenerative land use programs on solar farms. Partnering with the Restore the Earth Foundation, Silicon Ranch is identifying the corresponding social, environmental, and economic outcomes of these forward-thinking practices.
Verified outcomes of Regenerative Energy projects will be certified by an independent third party and will vary by project and local conditions. The spectrum of outcomes includes, among others, the following benefits:
- Direct and indirect local job creation, job training, empowered community participation, distributed economic impacts, and reciprocal knowledge transfers
- Sequestered carbon, biologically active soil, and improved soil formation and stabilization
- Improved air and water quality and increased water quantity
- Increased biodiversity and enhanced overall ecosystem functions
- Established pollinator habitat and endangered species habitat
- Generational equity, community resiliency, and volunteer opportunitie
To help develop and execute its vision, Silicon Ranch hired Michael Baute as its Director of Regenerative Energy and Land Management. Baute brings more than 15 years of diverse land management experience to the company, including expertise in regenerative land use practices as well as soil and crop sciences.
“Regenerative Energy is on the leading edge of an emerging global trend to operate in alignment with regenerative principles, which are resident in nature,” said Baute. “Silicon Ranch is proud to invite our colleagues in the solar industry to join us in this meaningful endeavor. Together, we have the opportunity to positively impact millions of acres of land across the U.S. and around the world as the solar land base grows.”
ClearWorld applauds this progressive and sustainable vision by Silicon Ranch and Shell. It shows that some fossil fuel companies are making investments in the future of renewable energy. ClearWorld is a leading provider of solar LED lighting solutions with installations in nearly 100 cities, parks, and military bases.