APOLLO BEACH, Fla. - A popular live stream showing sheep playing the important role of "vegetation control" at TECO’s solar fields is "baaaack," officials said.
The "lamb cam" first debuted in 2019 showing about a hundred sheep and lambs that were hired at one of the solar farms – which is about 100 acres in size. At the time, TECO officials said it would be the most cost-effective method to maintain the grass.
"These rented Katahdin sheep are flocking to TECO’s new solar fields to keep the grass short," according to a statement. "Grazing sheep provide a significant cost savings over traditional mechanical lawnmowers, and they are better for the environment."
The live videos can be viewed on TECO’s Facebook page.
Last year, TECO spokesperson Cherie Jacobs said it’s a quarter the cost of mechanical mowing, which could damage the solar panels.
"They love to eat this type of grass – and it’s helping us," Jacobs said. "We don’t want those plants and the grass to get too high that it would block the sun’s rays from our panels.
Tampa Electric officials said the sheep and lambs have wellness checkups "several times a week" and fencing around the solar farm keeps out most predators out.
The Lamb Cam launched Monday, and TECO said it will also show the newborn lambs at the Big Bend Solar site in Apollo Beach. The live stream will end in "several weeks."
As of January, Tampa Electric has about 7% of its energy generated from the sun.