MERCER COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — Some sheep are making themselves right at home on a farm in Mercer County ... a solar farm that is.
Kentucky Utilities has partnered with Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill to put the animals to work at the E.W. Brown Generating Station just outside of Harrodsburg, and now you can check it out for yourself.
The sheep were brought in about a year ago to help maintain the vegetation on the 50-acre farm, and the combination of their healthy appetites for grass and ability to get into hard-to-mow places has made for the perfect marriage.
"We didn't know how this would go initially, so we started with just a small section of the solar farm, and it has been completely problem-free," said Aron Patrick, the Manager of Technology, Research and Analysis for LG&E-KU.
The flock is confined to one-acre paddocks at a time, grazing, munching and generally hanging out. They started out with 35 sheep on the property, but this year they have had 22 baby lambs, and more are on the way. They expect the number to grow into the hundreds.
Patrick said the sheep have become very popular within the company, and as they continued to share pictures among each other and check in on the sheep, they started to think the public might be interested too. This thought prompted the launch of their new Sheep Cam. The energy company now streaming video of the sheep hard at work on their website 24 hours a day.
"Sometimes they'll wander out of view or be hidden by a solar panel," Patrick said.
Mike Moore, the Farm Manager at Shaker Village is the one who looks after the flock.
"You'll kind of see each sheep and their own little personality as time goes on," Moore said.
Moore shears the sheep and even sells the wool. Those profits go right back to Shaker Village.
"Sheep love the shade, so with the solar facility, there's shade under every panel. This is actually a great place for them to spend their time, they do enjoy being out here," Moore said.
Maybe best of all, thanks to the sheep's cheap labor, savings may be passed on to the customer. A 'wooly' cool partnership helping bring a powerplant into balance with the native environment.
"We're just really proud of this project and proud to be able to try to lower costs for our customers as well as try to make Kentucky more sustainable," Aron Patrick said.
Click here to check out the sheep cam.