Transformative new model for solar industry aims to advance regenerative agriculture practices on millions of acres of land
Company affirms commitment to addressing soil health, biodiversity, rural economic resilience, and climate change
Originally Posted June 26, 2019 by Silicon Ranch Corporation
Silicon Ranch Corporation, the U.S. solar platform for Shell and one of America’s largest independent solar power producers, today announced the launch of Regenerative EnergyTM, a verified, third-party certified product that combines clean electricity generation with carbon sequestration, ecosystem restoration, and rural economic revitalization.
“Regenerative EnergyTM 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. “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.”
To develop its Regenerative EnergyTM program, Silicon Ranch has partnered with renowned regenerative ranchers and local farmers, who are working with Silicon Ranch to deploy holistic land use practices on solar farms across the country. Adaptively-managed grazing animals, diverse native plants, pollinator habitat, and wildlife work together to revitalize soil, enhance biodiversity and resilient ecosystems, sequester carbon in the soil, and strengthen rural economies.
The program supports Shell’s global effort to design nature-based solutions that protect, transform, or restore land in a manner that enables nature to absorb more CO2 emissions from the atmosphere.
“Silicon Ranch continues to grow and provide innovative solar renewable options to U.S. customers,” said Marc van Gerven, Vice President of Renewable Power Generation at Shell New Energies. “Shell looks forward to the positive impact Regenerative EnergyTM can bring to ecosystem restoration and rural economic revitalization.”
Silicon Ranch has begun implementing regenerative agriculture practices on operating projects in Colorado, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi, with a plan to transition the balance of its portfolio over time. The company is integrating Regenerative EnergyTM standards into designs for projects in its construction pipeline and is scheduled to bring more than one gigawatt of solar capacity online over the next three years.
Silicon Ranch’s first new-build projects designed with the new standards are currently under construction in southwest Georgia. The company is partnering with one of the nation’s leading regenerative ranchers, Will Harris of White Oak Pastures, to deploy the standards across more than 3,700 acres in the region.
“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.”
Through a partnership with non-profit organization Restore the Earth Foundation, Silicon Ranch is leading the development of science- and research-based standards to measure and verify the relationship between regenerative land use practices on solar farms and corresponding environmental, social, and economic outcomes. The Regenerative EnergyTM verification methodology and third-party certification protocol currently under development will be aligned with globally accepted practices for voluntary, consensus-based standards development that support marketplace innovation.
“Restore the Earth is delighted to partner with Silicon Ranch on this exciting and impact driven project initiative. We are impressed and inspired by their visionary commitment and leadership to provide clean energy production with enhanced environmental, social and economic value creation,” said PJ Marshall, Co-Founder of Restore the Earth Foundation. “Through this work, Regenerative EnergyTM will set the solar industry standard for projects that deliver significant, measurable co-benefits and value to the environment, habitat, communities and society at large.”
Verified outcomes of Regenerative EnergyTM 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:
- 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
- Direct and indirect local job creation, job training, empowered community participation, distributed economic impacts, and reciprocal knowledge transfers
- Generational equity, community resiliency, and volunteer opportunities
To help develop and execute its vision, Silicon Ranch hired Michael Baute as its Director of Regenerative EnergyTM 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 EnergyTM 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.”
About Regenerative EnergyTM
Regenerative EnergyTM was established by Silicon Ranch Corporation in 2018 as a transformative new model for the solar industry to improve the way the solar industry manages its land and positively impact millions of acres over time. By building and operating solar power plants and caring for land in alignment with natural systems, Regenerative EnergyTM delivers clean energy, ecosystem restoration, carbon sequestration, and beneficial rural economic impacts. Regenerative EnergyTM is a holistic approach to land management on solar farms that provides a nature-based solution to climate change. For more information about Regenerative EnergyTM, visit siliconranch.com/regenerativeenergy. Everything is connected.
About Silicon Ranch Corporation
Silicon Ranch is the U.S. solar platform for Shell and one of the largest independent solar power producers in the country. Silicon Ranch develops to own all of its projects for the long-term, a distinction that means the company is deeply committed to its partners and communities and stands behind the performance of its facilities day in and day out. The company’s operating portfolio includes more than 120 facilities across 14 states from New York to California, including the first large-scale solar projects in Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi and Arkansas. To learn more, visit siliconranch.com and follow the company on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
SOURCE: Silicon Ranch Corporation