TECHNOLOGY

Growing crops under solar panels? Now there is a brilliant idea


Heavy rainfall that can damage crops is also on the rise, as a warmer atmosphere has more humidity. Madhu Khanna, an economist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said, “At times when there is extreme heat or extreme rainfall, this method protects plants, it can actually benefit them.” Agricultural grants. “So that’s another thing we want to see.”

Khanna will study what would be the ideal solar array for a particular crop, for example, if large or small gaps are needed between the panels to allow sunlight to pass through. Height is also a problem: long panels of corn and wheat will be needed, while bushy soybeans will do well with more squat varieties.

Thanks to those gaps, crops grown under solar panels are not bathed in darkness. But, in general, the light is wider, which means it jumps from the surface before hitting the plant. It mimics a natural forest, where all the plants, reserved for the tallest trees, hang in the shade, breaking any sunlight.

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Baron-Gafford observed that forest-like shades beneath solar panels receive physiological responses from plants. To collect more light, their leaves are larger than if planted in the open field. He has seen it happen in Tulsi, which will increase the yield of that crop. Baron-Gafford also got that pepper PotatoesWhich grows in the shade of forest trees, yields three times as much in agricultural methods. Tomato trees also bear more fruit. This is probably due to the low pressure on the plants due to the incessant bombardment of sunlight, which they are not evolutionarily adapted to.

But each crop is going to be different, so scientists need to test each one to see how they react in the shade. “For example, we probably wouldn’t recommend anyone planting summer squash directly in deep shade,” said Mark Uchansky, a horticultural scientist at Colorado State University. “A better location for this could be more towards the edge where a little more sun is more likely to be found, because we’ve had a lower yield in that case.”

There is some up-front cost involved in setting up the panels, they can actually make some money for the farmers, as Kominek told Grist before setting up his panels in this 2020 story. They will produce energy to run the farm, and the farmer can return any surplus to a utility. And since some plants যেমন such as Baron-Gafford’s experiments মতো like that salsa ingredient করবে will use less water, which can reduce the cost of irrigation. “If we can actually diversify their production to farmers and get more from the same land, it can benefit them,” Khanna said. “Having crops and solar panels is more beneficial to the environment than just solar panels.”

This type of setup cools solar panels in two ways: water evaporates from the soil toward the panels and the plants release their own water. This is great for panel efficiency, as they work even worse when they get too hot. When the sun’s photons push electrons from the atom, they generate an electric current, but if they are overheated, the electrons are over-excited and do not generate much electricity when they are removed.

Courtesy of Greg Baron-Gafford



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