Increase in energy demands and the drive towards low carbon energy solutions is seeing a rapid increase in ground-mounted solar parks across the world.
Environmental Scientists at Lancaster University and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology monitored a large solar park and found that solar parks altered the local climate.
Since the climate controls biological processes, such as plant growth rates, this valuable research can help understand how best to manage solar parks so they have environmental benefits.
Their paper ‘Solar park microclimate and vegetation management effects on grassland carbon cycling’, published in the Journal Environmental Research Letters, showed that the under the panels measurement was 5 degrees Centigrade under the panels during the summer. However, the effects varied depending on the time of the year and the time of day.
Dr Alona Armstrong, of Lancaster University, said “…solar parks take up more space per unit of power generated compared with traditional sources. This has implications for ecosystems and the provision of goods, for example crops, and services, such as soil carbon storage. But until this study we didn’t understand how solar parks impacted climate and ecosystems.”
The researchers of the study say understanding the climate effects of solar parks will provide farmers and land managers the knowledge they need to choose which crops to grow and how best to manage their land. There is potential to maximise biodiversity and improve yields.
Dr Armstrong added: “This understanding becomes even more compelling when applied to areas that are very sunny that may also suffer water shortages. The shade under the panels may allow crops to be grown that can’t survive in full sun. Also, water losses may be reduced and water could be collected from the large surfaces of the solar panels and used for crop irrigation.”
Read the full article here: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/07/160713102727.htm
Rural SkySolar Solutions
While we haven’t yet had a hand in creating a dedicated solar farm, we’ve helped plenty of farms go solar. We offer ground mounted solutions in areas where no roof is suitable, and always love to come up with solutions for reducing the power bills of those running farming machinery and equipment all day.
Here are a few examples to take a peek at: